German automobile manufacturer Audi said it has stopped the development of new combustion engines.
In an interview, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann justified the decision with the EU plans for a stricter Euro 7 emissions standard, reports the Electrive.
"We will no longer develop a new combustion engine, but will adapt our existing combustion engines to new emission guidelines," Duesmann said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
The plans for the Euro 7 standard are "technically a huge challenge with at the same time little benefit for the environment".
"This places extreme restrictions on the internal combustion engine," Duesmann said.
Duesmann did not specify a date as to when Audi would sell the last new car with an internal combustion engine. Instead, the Audi CEO referred to regions of the world where energy supply and charging infrastructure are less well developed. For this reason, Audi will continue to sell combustion engines for many years to come, but will not develop a completely new generation of petrol or diesel engines.
Audi is thus on a similar path to its premium rival Mercedes.
A week ago, Markus Schäfer, the board member responsible for development at Mercedes, also confirmed that no new generation of internal combustion engines would be developed. Schäfer told the Handelsblatt that all development expenditure had been completed for the "FAME" engine family, which was launched in 2016. "This means that the bulk of the investments can now really go into electromobility," Schäfer said.
Duesmann in Ingolstadt is planning to do the same. Audi wants to offer 20 electric models in five years. Duesmann hopes that the Q4 e-tron, based on the MEB from parent company Volkswagen, will reach new customer groups after the large electric SUV e-tron and the Taycan offshoot e-tron GT. The Q4 e-tron will be "affordable for many people and the entry into e-mobility at Audi".
"It will sell well and ensure significant unit sales," Duesmann said.
The Q4 e-tron will be built at VW in Zwickau.
As at Volkswagen's 'Power Day' held on Monday, Duesmann also confirmed in the interview that the electric sedan, which was initiated as part of the Artemis project, would be launched on the market at the end of 2024.
At the "Power Day", the Audi CEO had also indicated that the vehicle would be the first in the group to use the new cell-to-pack technology of the unit battery cell – this makes it possible to dispense with the modules that are currently customary when arranging the battery cells, which reduces complexity and saves costs.
When asked whether Audi will present the vehicle this autumn at the IAA, which will be held in Munich for the first time, Duesmann gave an evasive answer, but not because of the vehicle.
"I wish there was one in the format we have planned," Duesmann said. "But the pandemic is progressing so unpredictably that my confidence is honestly limited at the moment."