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Speech at the International Vienna Motor Symposium

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Vienna Motor Symposium is the pinnacle of all European automotive congresses. Before you dive into the technical details, I will have a look with you at the overall picture of future mobility. I will talk about the strategic technology mix and show you a roadmap for the market-specific and customer-specific mobility of the future.

Three aspects are important to me today:

  • Firstly, the question of the drive system of the future. The more cars there are on the roads around the world, the more important it is for them to have efficient drive systems.
  • At the same time, the car is not an autonomous closed system. It increasingly uses data from its environment. That also helps to reduce fuel consumption. And it makes driving safer and helps to save time. That is why my second point is car-to-car and car-to-X connectivity.
  • And thirdly, I will briefly focus on the customers of tomorrow. Technology may never be an end in itself. Our industry is well advised to make its customers and their needs and desires the measure of all things.

This brings me to the first point, the drive systems: With which concept will we drive the most efficiently in the future: Fuel cells? Batterie Electric Vehicles? Plug-in hybrids? Or still with conventional combustion engines, which then might run on synthetic fuel? The fact is: We will experience the various concepts in parallel for quite a while. Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses, and they cannot be directly compared with each other. One might want to ask what is worth more: the long range with a diesel engine, or that no local emissions are created by a battery electric vehicle? A businessman with a lot of business trips would answer that question differently from an inhabitant of a big city suffering from polluting emissions.

As an OEM, we naturally want to cover as many user profiles as possible. At the same time, we have to prioritize, due to the high investments required for new technologies, for example. So in deciding on the successful way, one is faced not only with the question of what is the best technology, but above all, with the question of the optimal technology mix. It is an enormous advantage for us at Audi as a premium brand to be part of the Volkswagen Group. Each brand can focus on the specific needs of its own target group. With the interplay between the brands, we simultaneously develop a broad spectrum of expertise and experience.

Let us look into the crystal ball: In the year 2030, according to current studies, approximately 40 percent of all newly registered cars and light trucks will be electric or partially electric. Nearly two thirds of them in the form of hybrid drive systems. On the other hand, that means that more than 80 percent of those newly registered cars and light trucks will still have a combustion engine on board. The number of diesel engines is likely to remain stable at today’s level.

The combustion engine has the advantage of decades of development. Such a technology does not simply become obsolete from one day to the next. On the contrary: We still see potential to further improve diesel and gasoline engines. I believe that a 15-percent efficiency improvement is possible by 2020.

Making further efficiency improvements is one task. At the same time, it is important to make progress tangible for our customers. At Audi, we are doing this for example under the heading of “Audi ultra.” We call a car an “ultra-model” if it is the CO2 champion of its model range – and is also amongst the frontrunners amongst its competitors. For example, with the A6 2.0 TDI ultra* with 114 grams of CO2 per kilometer – combined with a maximum power output of 190 horsepower. Or with the A3 1.6 TDI ultra* with 85 grams of CO2. This means that Audi ultra gives customers a valid seal of approval for efficiency, which they can use as a guide when buying a new car.

Ladies and gentlemen,

here in Vienna, on the occasion of the jubilee “25 years of the TDI,” we are presenting to you the new generation of our V6 TDI engines. We have further enhanced their performance and smoothness, while significantly reducing their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. You will hear about the details this afternoon.

Around the globe, four out of ten of the cars we deliver have TDI engines – in Germany the proportion is actually two thirds. People have now discovered the diesel engine even in the United States: 30 percent of our Q7* customers there choose the TDI. With the previous generation of the A3*, it was actually 50 percent. That is why we offer two models of the new-generation A3 with TDI in the USA: the Sedan and the Sportback.

The next stage of development is the electrically boosted turbocharger. Our head of technology is a great fan of the new e-booster. Professor Hackenberg recently stated: “With the e-booster, you easily gain a lead of at least two car lengths in the first two seconds at the traffic lights.”  The e-booster makes it clear: Electronic and electrical expertise is essential for today’s modern drive systems. A 48-volt onboard power supply makes it possible to use a lot of energy very quickly in the car. Power and torque are immediately available with the e-booster. And I promise you: This year, we will present a high-performance car with a new power-diesel engine and an e-booster covering every feature that defines our brand. Step by step, we will electrify the engines of the latest generation.

How does this compare with driving electrically in terms of efficiency? That is first of all a question of your point of view. As a manufacturer; we measure tank-to-wheel. But that is only one much shortened and partial point of view. It is not a full measure of sustainability. When customers do not charge their e-cars with regenerative electricity, “zero emissions” is often rather deceiving – because although there are no emissions from the car itself, they are created for example by a coal-fired power plant. If calculations are based on the mix of the European electricity network, a compact-class battery electric vehicle would easily work out at a well-to-wheel value of 80 g CO2/km. And one step further – in the lifecycle assessment, we also have to consider the energy-intensive production of batteries. If no green energy is used here, an efficient diesel-powered car is comparable with a Battery electric vehicle over its entire lifetime. And under a holistic examination, fuel cells are not automatically the cure-all that some people believe they are either. Especially due to the high compression of hydrogen at filling stations: at least 700 bar, which requires a lot of energy.

Do not get me wrong: We need electric cars! And they are definitely a key component of the technology mix for the sustainable mobility of the future. But in this case, technology mix means more than what is under the hood. It is about an overall concept for mobility. In addition to the manufacturers, this also places demands on urban planners, property developers, electricity suppliers and many other players. Because there is great potential in the interfaces of mobility. That is why for example we, together with an electricity supplier, also offer A3 e-tron* customers green electricity for their cars. It is 100-percent from hydroelectric plants in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. And with our Audi e-gas-project, we have shown a way to convert green electricity into synthetic gas. With a special fuel card, drivers of our A3 g-tron* can fill up with this gas all over Germany, and can thus run their cars with a CO2-neutral impact – with full long-distance viability.

I am sure that some of you would now like to discuss the efficiency of a power-to-gas plant. And would perhaps advise us that it would be better to use wind power directly for electric cars. The interesting point here is that we use surplus wind energy: energy that would otherwise be completely wasted.

With the Audi e-gas that we produce in the world’s biggest power-to-gas plant in Emsland in northern Germany, 1,500 Audi A3 g-tron* cars can each drive 15,000 kilometers every year with a neutral CO2 impact, which is quite a lot of driving.

We are also developing gasoline and diesel from non-fossil energy sources. Audi research projects are running on these topics in laboratories in New Mexico and France. And now imagine the maximum scenario: e-tron plug-in hybrid drive under the hood and e-fuel in the tank. We will drive electrically in urban areas and with synthetic gasoline and diesel outside cities. In this way, we will achieve CO2-neutral mobility without limiting our cars’ range.

At this point, I would like to tell you a bit about our PHEV strategy. Two years ago, I already discussed the pros and cons of electric mobility here at the motor symposium in detail. One thing is clear: The market ultimately decides on success and failure. That is why customers must not perceive e-mobility as having weaknesses. That is the only way it can reach its full potential as an efficiency technology; because only then will we put enough e-cars on the road. We have decided to start our drive into the future of the automobile with plug-in hybrids, because we see the biggest everyday benefits for our customers in PHEV at the current stage of technology. Because they do not require them to accept compromises in terms of range, safety, or long-term quality. They drive a typical daily distance electrically and free of emissions. But they have the certainty that they could drive well over 900 kilometers with the TFSI engine. With the A3 e-tron*, with standard fuel consumption of 1.5 liters per 100 kilometers, which means 35 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

This is how our customers will get to know electric driving – without having to check the battery charge – continually and nervously. I am convinced that this will get better when the customers have gained positive experience. That requires infrastructure and technology suitable for everyday use. And that is why we will adapt the battery electric Audi models very precisely to customers’ expectations.

Our e-tron strategy has two more advantages: On the one hand, it allows us to offer our efficiency technologies throughout the model range. We will launch one new e-tron model every year. And on the other hand, we will integrate these cars into the same production lines as the other models; we do not need a separate plant for electric cars. This means that we will produce in accordance with demand and will thus minimize the entrepreneurial risk.

We are now leaving our traditional area of competence with my second point: How do we use information from the car’s environment to make driving more efficient and safer? This is a matter of optimally controlling mobility everywhere and at all times, that is, in every specific situation.

Think for example of the possibilities that arise from anticipatory information provided by the navigation system. When the car already knows for example that it can roll down the next hill, a predictive efficiency assistant informs the driver when to take his or her foot from the accelerator. This can save more than ten percent propulsion energy in customer use. We will soon put this assistant into series production. And we are already working hard on other aspects. In addition to navigation data, in the future we will also use real-time traffic data, information from environmental sensors, and car-to-car communication. This allows us to calculate the ideal gear-shifting strategy; we can optimally control heat management or exhaust-gas after-treatment, and can make the operation of electric drive more efficient. An anticipatory drive system also offers customers more comfort and more driving pleasure – two points that are generally lacking in my next example: looking for a parking space.

Studies have shown that a third of urban traffic in Berlin consists of drivers looking for parking spaces. The point is: There are always free parking spaces somewhere; the trick is finding them. Car-park routing systems with road signs are common practice nowadays. The next step is central software for parking spaces that is directly connected with cars’ navigation systems. This might not only show the parking spaces that are currently vacant, but also forecast where a space will soon be available. For example, because it knows that a soccer match will soon finish in a stadium nearby.

Perhaps the driver has already informed the system via voice input what he or she wants to do in the city. The software then reserves in advance exactly the vacant parking space that minimizes the driver’s walking distance. In the past, this topic was reduced to the idea of the “car-friendly city.” Today, it’s all about the “city-friendly car.” With our Audi Urban Future Initiative, we show: “The car – taking (its) place in the city.” The ideal situation is when the two sides approach each other.

When cars communicate not only with the infrastructure, but with each other, swarm intelligence is created. That enhances safety – for example when a car driving ahead warns the cars behind it of an icy road surface. And it will help us to reduce traffic congestion. Traffic researchers assume that road capacity would already be quadrupled if every tenth car regularly passed on its position and speed, and if this information were used for anticipatory, computer-calculated driving.

We will very soon put piloted driving at up to 60 km/h into series production. We have developed a pilot that takes over the work of steering, braking and accelerating in traffic jams. This means that drivers gain valuable time – a lot of valuable time! In Mexico City, a car driver spends an average of 30 days in traffic jams each year. Even though the responsibility always remains with the drivers, we give them the maximum possible support with assistance systems. This enhances safety – and also efficiency by the way. Not only in terms of fuel consumption; Audi drivers are always connected with their private and professional environment when on the road. Not looking at their mobile phones, but with integrated access to their contacts and personal messages. No dangerous searching for CDs, but an integrated personal music library. The Audi will become the biggest and safest mobile device.

This brings me to my last point for today: Customers of tomorrow and their mobility behavior in our digitalized and individualized world. At present, there are more than one billion cars on the roads worldwide. By the year 2030, this number could triple. In the future, there will not be the one typical customer. The more people drive cars, the more diverse their desires and requirements will become.

Will I really only drive my own car in ten years’ time? Or will it be for example one of up to three models that I can use each year with a select package? A convertible in the summer, an Avant for the main family holiday, and an SUV for the winter, for example.

That is possible with us by means of the flexible rental model “Audi select.” We have quite a lot of ideas in store.

Will I travel only by car in ten years’ time? Or will the various forms of transport be so intermodally connected by then that we will have an optimum of time, ecological efficiency, and personal comfort? An app will then be the central mobility planner. On the basis of my calendar and the current traffic situation, the app will make recommendations on when I should leave and how I should travel to my destination.

The third question: Will I drive the whole time myself in ten years’ time? Surely not. I will certainly use the intelligent assistance of piloted driving in traffic jams and when parking.

And fourthly: Will I have to drive to the office to work in ten years’ time? Or will my work already start when I get into the connected car? Because I will be in my usual digital environment.

These four questions alone show that our world is changing in every respect. Let us use technical progress to improve sustainability. And let us overcome the boundaries between mobility and immobility. Individual mobility is the foundation of our economic and social life. Viewed in this light, the coming two days here in Vienna are not only about drive systems for the cars of today and tomorrow. They are also about a major factor for growth and prosperity.

I hope you all have an interesting Vienna Motor Symposium!

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 3.2;
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 85

Audi A3 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.0 - 3.3;
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 162 – 88

Audi A3 Sedan:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.0 - 3.3;
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 162 - 88

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1.5;
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 35

Audi A3 Sportback g-tron:
Combined fuel consumption: CNG 3.3 - 3.2 kg/100 km, petrol 5.2 - 5.0 l/100 km
Combined CO2-emissions : CNG 92 - 88 g/km, petrol 120 - 115 g/km

Audi A6 2.0 TDI ultra
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 4.4;
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 114

Audi Q7
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 10.7 - 7.2;
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 249 - 189 

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