18 Jun 2021, 10:22
Sören Amelang

Audi to launch last new model with combustion engine in 2026 – media report

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Carmaker Audi will stop launching new combustion engine or hybrid models in 2026 to focus exclusively on pure battery-electric cars, reports Max Hägler in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The Volkswagen premium subsidiary will present its last car equipped with a combustion engine model in that year, according to plans by CEO Markus Duesmann, company sources told the newspaper. "Only battery models will be sold from the beginning of the 2030s at the latest, even in China, where Audi plans to continue using internal combustion engines for several years longer than in Europe," Hägler writes. Audi plans to invest half a billion euros to cushion the loss of combustion engine jobs within the company, according to the report.

The step makes Audi the first prominent German carmaker with a clear combustion engine phase-out plan. Volkswagen is already the German car group most committed to battery-electric cars – the group was dubbed a European leader of the e-car transition by the green mobility NGO Transport & Environment (see graph) – while BMW and Daimler, with its Mercedes-Benz brand, bet heavily on hybrid models.

Audi's strategy shift is motivated by the success of e-car pioneer Tesla, the new course set by US president Joe Biden, the desire to leave its diesel image behind in the wake of the "Dieselgate" emission manipulation scandal, and EU emission limits, according to Hägler. The European car industry association ACEA has said that the EU's upcoming Euro 7 emission regulation, which is slated for introduction in 2025, could effectively ban combustion engine cars before the end of the decade.

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