Audi is considering buying authorization for an electric platform directly from a Chinese electric vehicle company in order to enhance the competitiveness of its electric cars, according to a July 9 report by German media Automobilwoche.
Why it matters: The news has attracted 7.2 million views on China’s Weibo as of writing. BYD, Geely, and Xpeng Motors, with years of experience making cars on their dedicated EV architectures, are seen as among the most likely options by Chinese netizens.
Audi and Chinese electric platform: The Automobilwoche report did not specify which Chinese companies Audi was in talks with. And yet the plan has already been approved by Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume and will be confirmed by Audi’s board this week, according to a Tuesday report by Automotive News Europe.
- The move is expected to accelerate the development and roll-out of Audi’s future electric models in the hope of catching up with rivals, especially in China. A company spokesperson declined to comment when reached by TechNode on Wednesday.
- In September 2021, BYD launched the 3.0 version of its e-Platform, a dedicated battery vehicle architecture, which the Chinese biggest EV manufacturer said would enable a driving range of more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and offer improved driving safety with its combustion-proof “blade battery.”
- Previously, Audi was said to be set to purchase BYD’s DM-i plug-in hybrid drive systems for its A4L sedans, but this was later denied by BYD’s spokesperson Li Yunfei, local media outlet Jiemian reported last November. BYD has been supplying its blade battery packs to Audi’s Chinese manufacturing partner FAW Group for its Hongqi marque since 2021.
- Geely launched its open-source, ground-up EV platform, called Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) in September 2020. Multiple EV models have been built upon it since then, including Zeekr’s 001 hatchback, the Smart #1 small SUV, and the Polestar 4. Volvo’s parent is now a partner of Renault in developing hybrid systems, Reuters reported.
- Xpeng Motors in April unveiled its Smart Electric Platform Architecture (SEPA) 2.0 with the debut of its G6 crossover. The platform features an 800-volt battery system, massive aluminum die casts, and assisted driving technology that currently allows vehicles to navigate by themselves on busy streets in China’s first-tier cities.
Context: Audi began selling its Q4 e-tron crossover with partner FAW with a price range between RMB 300,000 and RMB 380,000 ($41,729-$52,857) in China last May. It is built upon Volkswagen’s MEB open vehicle platform, as are Audi’s Q5 e-tron seven-seater and Volkswagen’s ID.6 SUV.
- Sales of Audi declined 15.6% in a year to 136,416 units in China during the first three months of this year, when peers BMW and Mercedes posted around 195,000 and 191,000 units, respectively.
- Volkswagen said on June 29 that a new Audi CEO will be on board from September 1, as it hopes to produce EVs only from 2026. Audi’s current lineup is not “competitive,”, especially in China, Blume told investors on June 21.
- The product offerings from global carmakers are not competitive on the EV and software side, resulting in continued market share loss, while pricing remains under pressure in an environment of overall lackluster demand, UBS analysts wrote in a June 19 note.