Audi is considering turning its A8 flagship sedan into a dedicated EV around the middle of the next decade, when a redesigned model is due.
New CEO Bram Schot made the revelation during the automaker's annual general meeting held Thursday in Neckarsulm, Germany.
“The next generation of the Audi A8 might well be all-electric,” he said. “That has not been decided yet, but I can well imagine it. We are thinking about revolutionizing the top-end class with a completely new concept for the A8.”
Audi has just launched the e-tron SUV for 2019 but the automaker is committed to adding many more EVs to its lineup. In fact, at the same event, Schot revealed that Audi's lineup will contain 20 EVs by 2025, including the aforementioned e-tron, as well as an e-tron GT super sedan, Q4 e-tron compact SUV, and a replacement for the TT sports car.
Audi's A8 sells in much lower numbers than its rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, so the automaker may be willing to take the risk by changing up the concept of the A8. The Tesla Model S, which is priced close to the A8, sells in much higher numbers, with Tesla selling 25,745 units of its flagship sedan in the United States last year versus Audi's tally of just 1,600 units.
It's a similar story over at Jaguar where a fully electric XJ is thought to be in the works.
2019 Audi A8 L
Before we see any electric A8, Audi will launch a plug-in hybrid version of the current generation. The automaker is also working on an ultra-luxurious version possibly sporting the Horch name to take on the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
During his speech, Schot also indicated that the R8 may transform into something radically different for its next generation. This ties in with multiple reports that the R8 will be replaced by an electric supercar featuring solid-state batteries.
“As I said, focusing also means leaving out," he said. "For example, the R8 sports car. Do we need a successor with a combustion engine? Does this fit in with our vision? The discussion will give us an answer to that.”