Audi is reportedly contemplating the acquisition of an electric vehicle platform from a Chinese competitor. The move comes as a response to delays in parent company Volkswagen Group’s Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which has compelled Audi to seek alternative solutions for advancing its EV development efforts. This potential acquisition signifies Audi’s determination to expedite its progress in the highly competitive EV market.
The Need for Speed in EV Development
According to sources within the company, Audi is motivated by the desire to accelerate its EV development processes. With the SSP platform experiencing delays, the German automaker is exploring the option of purchasing a platform from a Chinese rival. This strategic decision aims to ensure that Audi remains at the forefront of the evolving EV market by expediting the launch of new models in China.
Delays with Volkswagen’s Scalable Systems Platform
Volkswagen’s flagship EV project, known as Project Trinity, is set to be the first vehicle built on the Scalable Systems Platform. However, due to unforeseen delays, the launch of this highly anticipated model is not expected until 2029, with some reports suggesting a potential delay until 2030. This setback means that Audi’s own SSP-based model remains several years away, hindering its ability to compete in the Chinese market.
Audi’s Urgency in the Chinese Market
In order to remain relevant and competitive in China’s demanding EV market, Audi recognizes the importance of continuously delivering new electric models. Given the delays in Volkswagen’s SSP platform, the decision to explore the acquisition of an external EV platform has reportedly been made. While Audi initially denied any knowledge of such plans when approached by Automobilwoche, the urgency to secure an EV platform remains evident.
Audi’s Existing EV Offerings and Future Plans
Currently, Audi offers two models based on the Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) platform in China: the Q4 e-tron and the Q5 e-tron, which is essentially a rebadged version of the Volkswagen ID.6 X electric SUV. However, Audi and its joint venture partner FAW are already developing an EV plant in China that will produce models based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) starting from late 2024. The upcoming PPE-based models include the Audi A6 e-tron and Q6 e-tron.
The Role of Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) in Audi’s Future
While the PPE platform brings advancements over MEB, such as an 800-volt system voltage, Audi perceives the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) as essential for making significant strides in autonomous driving, software capabilities, and production processes. Acquiring the SSP architecture would enable Audi to enhance its offerings in these critical areas and prepare for the next era of electric and autonomous vehicles.
Potential Chinese Partners and Candidates
Although the specific Chinese automakers Audi is currently in talks with have not been mentioned in the report, there are several strong candidates. Companies such as Geely and Foxconn have emerged as potential partners due to their commitment to open collaboration and providing platforms to other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Geely has expressed its intent to offer its SEA platform as an open-source solution to other OEMs, while Foxconn is willing to build vehicles based on its MIH platform for third parties.
Audi’s reported interest in acquiring an EV platform from a Chinese rival showcases the brand’s determination to overcome delays in Volkswagen’s Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) and maintain its competitiveness in the rapidly evolving EV market. By exploring external partnerships and acquisitions, Audi aims to expedite its EV development efforts and ensure a timely entry into the highly competitive Chinese market. The potential acquisition of a Chinese EV platform signifies Audi’s commitment to innovation and further establishes the brand as a significant player in the electric mobility sector.