Another one bites the dust. Audi will no longer develop future internal combustion engines (ICE), part of its shift to cleaner transportation with more electric vehicles (EVs).
According to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung (FAZ), Audi's move is driven by the European Commission's emissions rules, including the upcoming Euro 7 emissions standard. Those standards are part of the European Green Deal and will require stricter emissions standards "for all petrol and diesel cars, vans, lorries, and buses."
The Commission hasn't adopted the Euro 7 regulations yet, but that's expected to happen in the fourth quarter of 2021 because it believes battery-electric and hydrogen powertrains represent a reasonable alternative to the ICE. The European Green Deal roadmap includes a proposal for ever-more-stringent air pollutant emissions standards for ICE vehicles, with the ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality across the continent by 2050.
This announcement doesn't mean you won't be able to buy an ICE-powered Audi ever again. Instead, it means the end is now in sight.
Audi CEO Markus Duesmann told the FAZ that the upcoming rules place "extreme restrictions on the internal combustion engine." Referring to both diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles, Duesmann said, "we will no longer develop a new combustion engine, but will adapt our existing combustion engines to new emission guidelines."
The fate of ICE vehicles, in general, is becoming more apparent as automakers across the world say they will abandon the technology in the coming decades. General Motors has said it aspires to be carbon neutral by 2040. Volvo plans to make half of the cars it sells all-electric by 2025, with 100% electric sales in 2030. Volkswagen Group, Audi's parent company, predicts it will be carbon neutral by 2050. Mercedes-Benz also said last week that it would not work on a new generation of internal combustion engines.
We already know some of the vehicles that Audi will sell instead of ICE models, like the E-Tron family of models and the upcoming Artemis project that Duesmann pushed soon after becoming CEO last year. Earlier this week, Duesmann said the Artemis EV would arrive towards the end of 2024.
Overall, Audi plans to offer 20 electric models in five years, part of the VW Group's plan for 75 electric models by 2029.