[UPDATE] In a press release, Audi has confirmed all models it will launch starting 2026 will be electric vehicles. Production of combustion-engined cars will come to an end in 2033, but with one exception. Audi expects demand in China for ICEs to continue beyond 2033, hence why there is a possibility it will locally produce petrol engines after that date. In the long run, Audi expects to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
Last week, Reuters quoted German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung claiming the end of newly launched Audi models with combustion engines is fast approaching. According to the report, 2026 will be the year when the Ingolstadt-based automaker is going to unveil its final production vehicle equipped with an ICE. A new article published by German business newspaper Handelsblatt aims to shed light on how the Four Rings plan to gradually discontinue petrol and diesel engines.
The luxury brand has already hinted the A1 supermini will not get a direct replacement since VW Group has the more popular Polo, Ibiza, and Fabia competing in the supermini hatchback segment. According to the latest report, Audi boss announced last week during a meeting with top-tier managers the next-gen A3, A4, A5, and A6 will all switch to EV power for the next generation. The existing combustion-engined models will stick around for a while.
Gallery: 2020 Audi RS Q8 first drive
There's no word about the A7 or A8, but these are expected to follow a similar timetable likely planned for the SUVs as well. Speaking of which, it is believed the Q8 will go down in history as Audi's final car with a conventional powertrain. Arriving in 2026, the company's largest SUV will be complemented by a fully electric Q8 E-Tron before the petrol model will be discontinued around 2032.
It is believed the traditional engine will be dropped entirely by fully switching to EVs without keeping the mild-hybrids and plug-in hybrids in the lineup. In the meantime, more electric models are on the way as the Q6 E-Tron SUV will be launched in 2022 while the A6 E-Tron concept previews a sleek electric liftback coming in 2023.
Audi will have 20 electric cars on sale by the middle of the decade, some of which will ride on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) being co-developed with Porsche. Archrivals BMW and Mercedes haven't set such drastic cutoff dates for the internal combustion engine, but much like Audi, both competitors are working on an EV onslaught for the years ahead.
As a final note, it's worth mentioning Audi has already admitted the development of combustion engines has ended, but the company will update existing petrol and diesel units to meet increasingly stringent emissions regulations. The VW core brand made a similar disclosure shortly after Audi's announcement.
Source: Handelsblatt via Automotive News Europe