There’s something big going on at Audi. The company's new CEO, Markus Duesmann, announced they are creating a new automobile division within the brand called “Artemis”. More interestingly, former Formula 1 engineer Alex Hitzinger, will be leading the new unit within the brand.
Audi’s “Project Artemis” will focus on the acceleration of building electric vehicles. Specifically, they said that the new division will be working on “new technologies for electric, highly automated driving with a specific model reference”. Furthermore, they will also be tasked to “implement a new lighthouse project for Audi in record time”. That said, the group is expected to build an electric vehicle ready for the road as early as 2024.
In order to be able to churn out a new electric vehicle in four years’ time, the Artemis team will have access to resources throughout the whole Volkswagen Group. As such, they will not be limited to Audi’s e-tron lineup of vehicles. In return, the results of the development made by Project Artemis will provide a blueprint for “a fast and agile development process” within the Volkswagen group as well. This way, other brands under the Volkswagen umbrella can accelerate their own product development as well.
Aside from accelerating EV development, Artemis will also be responsible for “designing a new business model for the entire usage phase”. This could mean that the vehicles developed by Audi’s Artemis division could be made available to customers in other methods aside from the usual buying or lease.
Prior to being assigned to Project Artemis, Hitzinger is also currently Volkswagen Group's leader of autonomous driving tech development. However, as mentioned earlier, he also has a big motorsports background. At Ford/Cosworth, he was the youngest chief development engineer in Formula 1, creating the first Formula 1 engine with a speed range of up to 20,000 rpm in 2006. He also helped Porsche win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 2015 to 2017.