The future of electrification

Cody Thacker, head of the electrification unit for Audi of America, was the keynote speaker at the Economic Club of Chicago (ECC) Luncheon during the Media Preview of the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.

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Thacker noted that in 2001 there was not a market for electric vehicles, “It took five years to sell one million electric cars, then 1.5 years to sell a million EVs, then ten months, and then it shortened to six months for a million electrified vehicles.”

Thacker forecasted that “By 2020, we will have reached the 10 million mark of Electric Cars sold, and we will be selling another million EVs every four months globally.” Part of the reason EV sales, in general, are increasing so rapidly is the addition of more than 500 EV models worldwide in the marketplace by 2020.

“Audi has always been known for progress through technology, and today, progress means helping create a more sustainable future for our customers. That’s why Audi’s future is electric,” said Thacker. “By 2025, we’ve committed that 30 percent of Audi’s U.S. volume will be made up of plug-in hybrid and fully electric models, including the brand’s first fully electric vehicle—the Audi e-Tron SUV—that will be on display. Our goal is to ensure consumers can go electric with confidence and without compromise in true Audi fashion. Electric Vehicles are high performance by their very nature.”

Some of the barriers that have kept buyers away are Cost, Range, Charging, and Apathy. The car companies, according to Thacker, have barriers as well; Utilities, homes, and only 24,000 charging stations. And cost; In 2010, a $/kWh was $1200. Calculating using those numbers, an E-Tron would have cost $100,000 for the batteries alone. Thacker predicted that EVs would obtain a 60 percent market share in the U.S. by 2040, equalling about 9.7 million units.

Through Audi’s studies, they found that thirty percent of buyers would buy an EV again. Going beyond electric vehicles in the next ten years, Audi will have connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles. There are sixty-five companies in California permitted for autonomous vehicles, and there have been 131 collisions, all due to human error.

Thacker is expecting one-third of its vehicles to be electric by 2025, “We know the VW Group plants create two percent of the CO2 emissions. It is one of the reasons we signed on to the Paris agreement to reduce emissions. There is a goal to get CO2 neutral by 2050.

At the luncheon, Audi showed a video of an electric vehicle being produced. If you listen closely you can hear what they are saying, but watch the video, it’s cool how they produce the battery.