The future of personal mobility is electric, and we are responsible for ensuring that future generations can live a life in a healthy environment and that respects and addresses the positive moves towards sustainability, while still being able to enjoy the aspects of performance, digitalisation and design, writes Sascha Sauer, Managing Director at Audi South Africa.

At Audi South Africa, we believe that the progressive adoption of electric vehicles in South Africa will be defined by what we like to call the Four Rings of e-mobility. As we plan to bring the Audi e-tron range of electric vehicles to the local market, we believe it is also an opportune time to inspire and expose consumers to the future of motoring and all that it can offer. If you can embrace the transformation and look at the possibilities that the new era of e-mobility presents, the future is an attitude. These Four Rings of e-mobility signify the four reasons to believe in the future of electric mobility for South Africa.


From 2026, Audi will only launch new models that are fully electric on the global market, with a mandate to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. A recent McKinsey report amplifies that the automotive future is an electric one and that there is a need to change the industry’s role in reducing global CO2 emission levels and decarbonising the planet.

Electric vehicles have a critical role in this important shift to help decarbonise the planet, not only in progressing the automotive industry forward, but also in enabling a positive impact on the global climate change debate.  At the core of Audi’s global mandate is a consciousness of personal mobility’s impact on the environment. To safeguard individual premium mobility, we have to decarbonise the transportation sector through electrification with green energy and faster collaboration in cross-sector work, and through adjusting the regulatory framework. We believe this is possible by stimulating electric mobility demand and bringing the product to market. We are convinced that the industry has a responsibility to play. 

That is why we aim to do this in a significant way by introducing the Audi e-tron range in South Africa, with six model derivatives on offer at launch in quarter one next year. Therefore, progress in all relevant areas like charging infrastructure, regulatory support, Dealer network, energy suppliers, service providers, and cross-sector collaboration will accelerate.


As the McKinsey report points out, the rapid rate of automotive technology innovation is incredible. Organisations are developing new concepts of electric, connected, autonomous, and shared mobility. Remember when your mobile phone could only make calls or send a text message? Much like the fast-paced evolution of these handheld devices, the dawn of e-mobility coincides with new possibilities around customisable user interfaces within a vehicle’s cabin, like the latest in navigation, infotainment and active driver safety system technologies, but also outside the vehicle’s cabin with its increasing car-to-x connect capabilities.

A commitment towards living progress means that Audi’s approach to e-mobility is, therefore, not only led by electric vehicles but digitalisation too. From connected technologies and artificial intelligence, to alternative drivetrain technologies and digitalisation, all form an integral part of our quest towards sustainable premium mobility. 

Our recently revealed concept vehicles – the Skysphere and Grandsphere – accurately represent a premium automotive future, one which perfectly blends both luxury and digital mobility. It reveals how we as a premium automotive brand envision the future of premium mobility: connected, sustainable, electric and autonomous. 


Consumer behaviour and awareness are changing, albeit slowly. It’s often only when a consumer experiences an EV that they discover there are no performance compromises in the driving experience.

E-mobility opens new dimensions in driving dynamics, like the fully variable power distribution of the electric quattro drive with torque vectoring in the Audi e-tron Sportback S.  Audi’s proud history of dominance through innovations across various motorsport disciplines, combined with the inherent benefits of electric performance and the optimal balance of weight associated with these sophisticated platforms allows for excellent sharing of research and development from race cars to series production.  

Nothing demonstrates this better than Audi’s successful innovations in the toughest and most demanding motorsports challenges, like the 24 hours of Le Mans and the gruelling Dakar rally. In January 2022, Audi will be the first manufacturer to take on the challenge of the Dakar rally using electrified drivetrain technologies bound for future road-going Audi e-tron offerings. 


The packaging of a modern electric vehicle allows for fresh design thinking when it comes to unique proportions, high-class interior features and optimised versatility. Since the battery is located in the floor and between the front and rear axles, and the signature “Singleframe” grille, which is no longer bound to function as a conduit into the engine bay, allows for new licence-to-create opportunities.  The design language of an electric vehicle, of course, has to transform new aesthetics to the new digital enhancements and allow the vehicle’s overall package to be something that intrigues, inspires, and stands out. Electric mobility is becoming dynamic and fascinating, as proven by the halo model, the Audi e-tron GT. The four-door coupé, which will be introduced on the market as an RS model at the same time, reinterprets the classic idea of the gran turismo: Its design is highly emotive, its technology is revolutionary, and its performance is breath-taking – a classical marriage of the Four Rings of mobility.

For South Africa to embrace the future of mobility, we need to bravely see past the challenges and misconceptions of electric vehicles. This journey is not a solo expedition but rather a collaborative voyage by all players in the market, not just the automotive manufacturers. From an Audi brand point of view, we are fully committed to embarking on this new adventure towards e-mobility. Our strong e-tron product lineup is a bold representation of our intent and commitment to transforming the sector.


At Audi, we’re not only fully committed to embracing the move towards e-mobility in South Africa by bringing in a range of electric vehicles under the e-tron nameplate within the first quarter of 2022, but we’re also excited about capturing imaginations and committed to changing customer perceptions towards electric vehicles in general.

A question regularly encountered around the prospect of electric vehicle ownership in South Africa is the perceived impact of the well-documented instability within our state-supplied power supply. While certainly inconvenient and, at times, frustrating, the impact of a power interruption event can be largely negated via planning and preparedness, much like managing the charging of a mobile phone. 

While South Africa’s evolving public charging infrastructure already includes more than 300 universally configurable public stations – soon to be supplemented with high-speed options at ten Audi Dealerships around the country – global research suggests most electric vehicle owners have adopted a pattern of “top-up”, overnight home charging behaviour. 

Every Audi e-tron purchase in South Africa will include a complimentary home visit and consultation as part of the sales process, which aims to establish what potential home system upgrades are recommended and technically possible, to best meet customer expectations and accommodate electric vehicle ownership and private charging. In some instances, this could also include supplementation via solar power. 

Each Audi e-tron model confirmed to date for our market boasts a range exceeding 340 kilometres. Noting the documented average daily distance travelled by car by most South Africans as being 22.5 kilometres, it’s conceivable that a fully electric Audi e-tron would only need to be completely recharged twice per month. Potential interruptions aside, an owner will always wake up to a fully charged vehicle at their convenience.

Boasting one of the highest ratios of charging points to electric vehicles in the developing world, including one within approximately every 200 kilometres on five major road networks, around 58% of these stations are mated with a backup power supply. In these instances, a 50 kW DC charger can recharge a vehicle to 80% of battery capacity in and around two hours, even during times of scheduled load-shedding.  

At Audi South Africa, we feel confident that the market we serve is ready to embrace a more premium and sustainable form of mobility.


Each evening before we switch off the lights, we keep our devices plugged in for an overnight charge so that they’re ready for operation in the morning. In a digital world of mobile phones, tablets and smartwatches, recharging is so habitual that we do it unconsciously. And so, the idea of a “top-up charge” to an electric vehicle each night can easily form part of our daily routine.

Range anxiety – the fear of an electric vehicle running out of charge unexpectedly before you arrive at the next place to plug into the grid – is listed as one of the reasons for hesitancy around local electric vehicle ownership, according to the 2020 South African EV Car Buyers Study. Of course, range anxiety isn’t just an electric vehicle problem – internal combustion engines run out of fuel, too – but we’re so accustomed to seeing fuel stations on the road that it’s not something that we worry about. 

Global research suggests that about 80% – 85% of electric vehicle owners adopt the habit of overnight “top-up” home charges, broadly replicating how most of us manage the day-to-day battery life of our mobile devices. The Audi e-tron 50 with its 71 kWh battery boasts a range of more than 340 kilometres. When using the standard Audi compact charger on a single-phase, 32 amp industrial socket, conveniently installed in the garage, the electric vehicle is charged to 80% overnight (from an estimated level of 5%) within a timeframe of approximately 10 hours. Charge time decreases, and driving range opportunity increases as you move up the range of the six new e-tron models that we are introducing to South Africa in early 2022.

Sophisticated in their workings, Audi e-tron models are engineered to continuously monitor the remaining range and provide early warning to the driver. Adapting one’s driving style and behaviour can play an important factor in preserving energy usage. Considering that the majority of driving is a single commute for most, the e-tron driver can enjoy all of the comfort features for which Audi is known when it comes to interior design. If, at any time, the e-tron’s battery range is low and without the support of a charger nearby, a two-stage warning is given (at 100 km and again at 50 km). Once the battery level is displayed as 0%, the e-tron will enter an emergency mode, allowing the vehicle to be moved a few 100 metres to a safe location. At this point, Audi Assist is equipped to provide a helping hand, 24/7.  

At one of the more than 300 (and counting) 50 kW and 60 kW public charging stations, an Audi e-tron 50 can be fully recharged in 90 to 120 minutes. The e-tron GT and range-topping RS e-tron GT with their respective 93 kWh battery systems can be charged from 5% to 80% in just over 30 minutes, using ultra-fast public charging infrastructure (150 kW). 

There is really no need to worry about range, lack of charging support or finding yourself stranded. Just like with an internal combustion-engine vehicle, you can undoubtedly drive an all-electric car until its “tank” is empty. Still, a simple shift in user behaviour is all that’s required to alleviate any such anxiety. 

At Audi South Africa, we feel confident that the South African market is ready to adopt a more premium and sustainable form of mobility. As we plan to bring the Audi e-tron range of electric vehicles to South Africa, we believe it’s also an opportune time to inspire and expose consumers to the future of motoring and all that it can offer. The future is an attitude if you can embrace the transformation and look at the possibilities that the new era of e-mobility presents.



Most Popular