If you thought Audi’s naming scheme for electric vehicles was a little confusing, buckle up because things are about to get more complicated. The brand is preparing to rename its entire lineup to further differentiate between EVs and combustion models. While rumors about the company dumping e-tron badging for something different have circulated for weeks, CEO Markus Duesmann recently confirmed some of the details in Germany. In the future, all combustion-reliant Audi products will be issued odd numbers while electric models are to be given even ones.
Speaking with the German magazine Auto Bild, Duesmann confirmed that the next-generation A4 will be sold as an A5 and that the A6 will become the A7. However, things just get more confusing from there. The A4 will also be sticking around as an all-electric model and won’t require a name change, with something similar taking place for a prospective all-electric A6. Corporate leadership likewise noted that the “e-tron” badge will probably not be going away.
“In the future it will be like this: the odd numbers will be the combustion engines and the even numbers will stand for the battery-electric vehicles,” he explained in German.
“At Audi, e-tron stands for 100 [percent] electric and is a well-established term,” added Chief Technology Officer Oliver Hoffmann. “We want to stick to that.”
But that makes one wonder why the hell Audi is doing any of this to begin with and begs the question of what’s going to happen to preexisting combustion models (like the current A5 and A7) that are being bumped out of position by the automaker having to round up models with even-numbered names.
Duesmann reportedly didn’t have much to offer, saying details about additional variants would be addressed further down the line. But he reassured the outlet that customers could “look forward to many emotional and high-performance derivatives,” indicating that the S and RS-badged vehicles should persist.
While the rest of the year should be pretty tepid in terms of Audi announcements – the company is mostly doing facelifts until the Q6 e-tron arrives – next year is probably when we’ll start seeing this new naming scheme come into effect. The brand has over a dozen vehicle launches scheduled for both 2024 and 2025. Most of those will be entirely new products, even if they keep the old names.
That said, Duesmann wanted to make it crystal clear that the company intends to continue building combustion models until the European Union’s planned registration ban for new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles comes into effect in 2035. It’s a bit strange, considering Volkswagen Group’s previous insistence that Audi would be leading the charge with EVs. However, based on the progression of electric vehicle sales, it’s probably wise for Audi to keep combustion cars in the mix until it’s not legally allowed to sell them.