Audi and Porsche are working together on what Audi today called the ‘premium platform electric’ (PPE), which will underpin a series of models across vehicles spanning the B, C and D-segments.
The partnership is taking place as part of the Volkswagen Group, which will also see Audi work with Volkswagen on the modular electric platform set to underpin its A-segment vehicles going forward.
Audi’s head of technical development, Dr Ulrich Widmann, told CarAdvice the relationship between Audi and Porsche is unique in the industry, and brings benefits beyond being able to share development costs.
“On the high end we develop [a platform] together with Porsche, the premium platform electric, the technology carrier for the future…" he said.
"It’s really a benefit that we have Audi and Porsche [working together] which are really experienced in making really high end cars to bring the knowledge together, it is very unique and you will never find that comparable in the industry.”
According to Widmann, Audi’s place in the 'mainstream premium segment' allows it to work both with Volkswagen and Porsche on each end of the spectrum, to deliver a range of electric vehicles across shared platforms.
“We have common projects inside the VW Group… we have also started development with Volkswagen with a modular platform, [which we will] launch with VW next year. That’s a volume platform where you have a lot of features," he explained.
The brand’s first electric car, the e-tron, is based on the widely-used Volkswagen Group MLB platform. It’s heavily modified to incorporate the car's electric components, which has brought about a hybrid platform known as MLB Evo, which itself will be replaced by fresh platforms to power the next-generation of electric cars from 2022.
“We took the MLB Evo, it’s a platform that comes with a lot of modules: one module for example is climate control, we used a lot of modules from MLB, but we also added modules required for EV… Typically inside Audi we use platforms for seven to 10 years, then we develop a new setup..."
“[Looking ahead, there’s] a new premium platform electric which would then give us the next step of technology for the next century, this is developed together with Porsche. The first cars you will see [on that platform will be] in 2021 and 2022.”
Whatever platform the next-generation, or the generation beyond, of Audi electric vehicles are based on, it’s clear the investment across the whole Volkswagen Group into electric vehicles is substantial.
Nonetheless, the brand thinks at least 66 per cent of its sales will still come from internal combustion engine vehicles (we suspect Australia would be closer to 95 percent) even by 2025, which suggests that EVs still have some time to go before becoming the mainstream vehicle of choice.