Audi’s new CEO willingly admits that Tesla is two years ahead of the industry in some critical areas of building electric vehicles.
Markus Duesmann, Audi’s new CEO, has been focusing on electric vehicles and he is taking inspiration from market leader Tesla.
The CEO recently said that he believes Tesla has a two years on the rest of the industry (via Reuters):
“Currently, Tesla has larger batteries because their cars are built around the batteries. Tesla is two years ahead in terms of computing and software architecture, and in autonomous driving as well.”
In order to close the gap, Duesmann has started a new group within the German automaker to “develop a pioneering model for Audi quickly and unbureaucratically.”
He wants to avoid the normal cumbersome process and instead move quickly in a more startup-way, like Tesla.
The new group, called Artemis, has for goal to develop “a highly efficient electric car that is scheduled to be on the road as early as 2024.”
Tesla has been known for its efficiency lead in the industry:
In comparison, Audi has disappointed in efficiency with its first electric vehicle built from the ground up, the e-tron.
However, the electric SUV’s lack of efficiency can be explained by the automaker being very conservative with energy capacity in its battery pack — leaving a large buffer.
On the software front, Volkswagen — Audi’s parent company — has been having a lot of issues with its own software in the ID.3 and admitted that Tesla has a lead in this area.
They even started to implement what is internally called the “Tesla catch-up plan” with a new software team earlier this year.
The way I see it, Tesla focused on critical differentiating features early on, like battery module, BMS, drive unit efficiency, thinking that battery cells would become a commodity.
This gave Tesla an important efficiency edge over other automakers making electric vehicles.
Cells haven’t evolved fast enough and in large enough volumes for Tesla and now they are trying to increase production with their own cells — building to their existing lead in other critical electric vehicle technology.
As for Audi, it’s a great sign that they are looking at Tesla as the leader here. They are looking in the right direction.
I am not worried about them. They are making the right move, and they are already having decent success with the e-tron in Europe.
I think their next-gen EV is going to be extremely competitive.
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