Audi is set to have a busy 2020, with four electrified RS models due to make their debuts along with several new mainstream additions to the brand's line-up.
We caught up with its exterior design head, Andreas Mindt, and quizzed him on EVs, concepts and Audi's future.
We're seeing a lot of new electric supercars. Does this appeal to Audi?
The E-Tron GT is a first step in this direction. I can imagine steps like this. Let's see what happens – there are great chances. The energy in the battery is limited at the moment, so you need a jump in technology for [supercars].
How are you developing the styling of electric cars?
We have a big decision to make on how EVs look. It's a myth that electric cars don't need cooling and they don't need a face – it's not true. The battery and motor with this level of performance needs the cooling. It's also a myth that electric cars need a short bonnet and a long A-post. If you do that, the dashboard gets bigger and you have more heat inside the car from the size of the glass windscreen. Then you can't get the heat away as the energy management in an electric car is very low. To that, a Defender is a good design for electrification...
And what will they look like?
Our belief is to invert everything, with the grille and the grille surround. So the grille isn't a black hole any more. The volume inside the grille instead shows the battery is bright, and then the surround is a black mask around it. Being black means we can hide the sensors in there, and it's not easy to hide sensors. This is very clever. You can still recognise it as an Audi even at 100 metres.
Audi had one of the most innovative concepts of 2019 with the AI:Trail. Will you keep creating concepts like this?
We want to be progressive. The AI:Trail was very futuristic. People either loved it or hated it. We wanted to go to the future and show what could be done thinking differently. It's like a helicopter on four wheels, like sending something sneaking through the forest rather than a 4x4 to smash through the terrain. It's the opposite to the norm. Off-roaders are ideally suited to EVs; there is no gearbox and you always have low torque.