Temporary CEO of AUDI AG and
Board Member for Sales and Marketing
Speech at “The Charge – World Premiere Audi e-tron”
San Francisco Bay, USA
September 17, 2018
– Check against delivery –
Ladies and gentlemen,
Greetings and Welcome to San Francisco Bay! Thank you for being part of this truly exciting moment for Audi. Big thank you to Scott Keogh and his team for hosting this event.
There is a saying that dates back to Benjamin Franklin and his famous experiments with electricity. When you achieve something remarkable, you have “caught lightning in a bottle.” And that is precisely what this bottle represents. We have harnessed the collective power of Audi. The collective power of our designers and engineers. Of our dealers and customers. And created something truly special: Our first fully-electric car, the Audi e-tron!
A unique moment in the history of Audi. And in such a special moment, it’s considered the proper thing to take some time, sit down and reflect – and turn it all off. We know where we come from. We have not forgotten about what happened over the past few years. We have to think backwards from our imagination. Instead of forwards from the past. Our heritage is not our destiny. It was time for a fundamental change. We needed to improve ourselves – to assume responsibility and become better than ever before. The e-tron marks a special moment in time. It marks the beginning of a new era. A new era in electric mobility. The e-tron is the first of many to come, delivering on our promise of Vorsprung durch Technik.
It is of course not the world’s first electric vehicle: A Scotsman introduced that as early as 1832! My ancestors are Scottish – reason why my name is Schot. What brings it full circle! But it is Audi’s first electric vehicle… it is our first electric vehicle. Vorsprung – being ahead – is defined not only by being the first to do something. Vorsprung rather means: being the first to do something right. Vorsprung once meant quattro all-wheel drive… Aluminum construction… LED lighting…
What do we mean by doing things right?
We merge the new world of electric mobility together with over 100 years of experience in manufacturing premium cars. We build a new ecosystem around the electric car with premium digital services, like functions on demand. We strive to live sustainability in a very consistent way: Our electric cars enable driving with a more responsible mindset. And they are built at a CO2-neutral plant in Brussels, Belgium. In the future, electric cars, autonomous driving and sharing will come together. This will result in a new mobility system with more freedom and more responsibility for all of us. So there is a first time for everything to be done the Audi way – progressive, consistent and without compromises. When your ideas are bold enough to do things different you can change everything. When experience gives you the wisdom you can rethink everything. And that is when the time is right for everything to go your way.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s not only about being the first to do things: It’s about doing the right things – doing them right, when the time is right! And the time is unquestionably right for electric to go Audi! I assure you: With the Audi e-tron you won’t miss a thing. Because we are putting our customers first – concerning safety and comfort. This is at the core of our corporate strategy.
This is why we strive to create the digital experience of tomorrow. Our cars will become an integral component of our customers’ digital lives. This will make mobility safe, convenient and individual. We strive to be the trendsetters for autonomous mobility. The Audi Aicon demonstrated our vision: fully electric, fully autonomous and fully connected. With cars like that, we want to redefine individual mobility. And we strive to take electric mobility to the next level. We plan to offer more than 20 electrified models by 2025 – some will be plug-in-hybrids – more than half will be fully-electric. Following the Audi e-tron, we will launch the Audi e-tron Sportback next year, and an electric-powered compact model in 2020, as well as a four-door Gran Turismo in the same year. The Audi e-tron GT will be the sporty spearhead of our electrified cars. We believe: In the midst of the next decade, one third of our sold cars will be electrified.
So, the Audi e-tron is just the first of its kind. And now, ladies and gentlemen it is time. The moment we all have been waiting for. It is time to meet the car that strives to lead the way in premium electrification and that will drive Audi into the future. It is time to show the world exactly what we mean when we say electric has gone Audi!
Look at this car! This is the state-of-the-art top-notch expression of e-mobility. Both, technology-wise and design-wise. This is another Audi that you will truly be proud to drive!
Now is clearly the time for electric to go Audi – here in the U.S. and around the world. The investment Electrify America is making, mirrors what is happening in other major markets: In China our customers will benefit from a strong charging network. And in Europe, we will offer our customers the e-tron Charging Service. Under one contract, they will get access to more than 72,000 public charging points, including the high power charging network of Ionity.
Range anxiety will be become a thing of the past. On the open road, you’ll know exactly where a charge is ready and waiting. But in most cases of everyday life you will not wait for your car to charge at all! Because you will regain power at locations where you never filled up your gas tank: at home and at work. So on most of your trips you will start with a full battery.
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, it all has begun. With our first electric vehicle — and the world’s first true electric SUV injected with the Audi DNA. From my point of view: The Audi e-tron is the best fully-electric car you can buy. Because: This car has the highest charging speed in the competition. It delivers on our promise: Vorsprung durch Technik, with innovations like the virtual exterior mirrors. It has electric quattro, extraordinary design, remarkable quality, unique precision, and sovereign sportiness. It is 100 percent Audi.
Thank you for celebrating this historic moment with us. Enjoy the evening!