Audi boss sees end of plug-in hybrid promotion as a “great opportunity”

Audi CEO Markus Duesmann welcomed the possible end of the purchase premium for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) later this year. At the same time, he criticized the federal government’s planned tax cuts on gasoline and diesel fuel and called for clear political support for battery electric cars. “Politics must ensure technological clarity and unite all forces,” Duesmann said today at the Ludwig-Erhard summit in Gmund am Tegernsee.

Ditching the combustion engine is a huge opportunity for Europe, Duesmann explained. “We now have the opportunity to become the world market leader for electric mobility and new technologies, for deoxization,” said the head of Audi. He expects clarity on technology and goals from politicians. “That is why I also support the fact that the purchase premium for plug-in hybrids, which represents pure bridging technology, expires in Germany at the end of this year.”

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to abolish state subsidies for the purchase of a plug-in hybrid as early as the end of 2022. This is earlier than expected and contrary to what is stated in the government’s coalition agreement of the traffic light. The Association of Automobile Manufacturers (VDA) had heavily criticized the plans.

Battery electric drive is the most efficient for cars, Audi chief Duesmann said. The rapid development of a nationwide charging network is absolutely crucial. Due to the high costs, the parallel construction of hydrogen filling stations is impossible.

“Artificially reducing fuel prices does not support our actual fossil fuel savings goals,” said Duesmann. The government should find other ways to ease the burden on citizens. Europe must lead the way and do away with fossil energy by 2040, even if Europe’s CO₂ emissions are far lower than those of China or the United States. “If we make clear decisions in Europe, the rest of the world will follow us.”

At the same time, Duesmann called for the acceleration of the expansion of wind energy in Germany and “especially here in Bavaria”. Wind turbines are now part of the landscape of North Rhine-Westphalia, “we will get used to seeing them even here in Bavaria”. After 2033, Audi wants to build only electric cars and thus generate the same medium-term profit margins as it does today with combustion engines.


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