As with what seems like every car manufacturer in the world, Audi have announced they are aiming to rival Tesla in the electric vehicle industry. Rupert Stadler, the chief executive of the Audi has reportedly given the all clear for an all-electric luxury Sedan to be designed and constructed in a bid to challenge the highly successful Model S of the Tesla brand.
If all the objectives of Audi are met then it would be very reasonable for them to expect to challenge the Model S, reportedly going to be called the ‘A9 e-tron’, it’s expected to be able to travel 300 miles per one full life of battery, will be a level 4 for autonomous driving and is going to consist of three electric motors.
Stadler has stated that Audi intends on having three different electric vehicles in its fleet by 2020 and by 2025, wants 25% of all sales to be accounted for by battery powered vehicles. In January, the Audi group committed to building an all-electric SUV using the concept established from their e-tron Quattro range, it’s expected that production of SUV will begin in 2018.
Anyway, back to the Sedan, Audi have said that the ‘A9 e-tron’ will follow on from the impressive features of the e-tron Quattro and expand further. Arguably the most impressive feature was that of the re-charging plate, where by the vehicle parking over it, it will then charge your car as opposed to having to plug it in. In addition to this, the autonomous setting on the ‘A9 e-tron’ is going to enable the car to drive itself to a parking spot where there is an accessible re-charging plate.
So Tesla, do you have it within you to maintain a mass share of the market, despite big name brands entering the industry?
Swedish German design firm Kram/Weisshaar has cooperated with Audi and developed a “micro-sharing initiative” to encourage Swedish people to share their cars. This initiative has been launched mostly in Stockholm. What does a “micro-sharing initiative” actually mean?
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Silvia M.//SMC Editor
Aluminum is seeing a marked increase in use in Automobile manufacture over the traditional metal; steel. This trend has been driven by two major factors. Firstly the market price for aluminum has fallen by over a third since its 2011 peak, making the metal and attractive option, despite it costing more than three times as much as steel. So what else is driving this trend? The intrinsic properties of aluminum make it suitable for vehicle manufacture; particularly its light weight. In a society that is increasingly concerned about fuel economy and pollution this is of particular importance, as lighter cars mean that less gasoline needs to be used to propel them.
So one can pose the question; how real is this trend? As mentioned in our previous article on the new Ford F-150 pickup truck, it is the first modern-mass produced vehicle to have its body completely composed of aluminum. However there are other examples, particularly in the luxury automobile segment that also have aluminum bodies, like the Audi A8 and Jaguar XJR.
This is just the beginning of the aluminum switch, as we can see the strong investment in technology and infrastructure. The biggest example of this being Alcoa Inc. and Novalis (the largest metal manufacturers in the United States) spending a combined $US 1 Billion on upgrading factories just to produce aluminum sheet metal for automobiles. This is not an intrinsically US phenomena, with Hindalco spending $US 550 Million upgrading aluminum sheet metal for automobile manufacture plants in Germany and China.
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Dominick F.// Editor SMC
Sources: The Wall Street Journal; Anish Kelkar, Richard Roth, and Joel Clark; Wikipedia; Motor Trend; Forbes