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X Marks the Spot — 300-Mile-Range Audi e-tron SUV Coming in 2018 to Battle Tesla

X Marks the Spot — 300-Mile-Range Audi e-tron SUV Coming in 2018 to Battle Tesla

Audi has confirmed its all-electric e-tron quattro SUV will come to market next year with “300 miles” range, and possibly more.

Introduced as a pre-production concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2015, the production version of the e-tron quattro will be among the first premium all-electric SUVs, joining the Tesla X and the planned Jaguar I-Pace.

For its part, Audi says the luxury electric vehicle to be sized between a Q5 and Q7 will be “the first real premium manufacturer doing a premium electric SUV.”

Tesla has had quality control issues with its Model X “SUV,” which others describe as a crossover, but Audi appears to be nearly snubbing Tesla in not recognizing the fast X priced in the “premium” segment, and surely a competitor.

As for the e-tron’s “300 miles” range, Audi has not disclosed what test cycle this estimate is based on, but it could well be the generous Euro NEDC cycle. This cycle typically estimates higher – and unrealistic – range than the U.S. EPA cycle.

There is no formula to precisely estimate under EPA what the e-tron may deliver. If Audi is basing its claim on the NEDC, real-world range may be in the neighborhood of 250 miles assuming the battery is the same size as the pre-production version, or 95 kWh.

Audi’s timing also benefits from what many believe will be continued investment in the charging infrastructure both in Europe and the U.S.

“It’s not our job to invest in charging points. We are pushing and organising this, though, and working with partners on it,” said sales and marketing chief Dietmar Voggenreiter to Autocar. “No cars, no infrastructure, but in the next two years there are lots of investments,”

Voggenreiter noted also that an SUV is important for the e-tron because it is the most on-trend body style.

“A lot of customers have been asking when we’ll bring this car to market,” he said. “There is certain demand in the premium segment and we’re not being first to market for the sake of it; it’s the right product. It’s a real SUV, with Audi design language.”

The all-wheel-drive e-tron SUV will likely have three motors — one in the front and two in the rear and is to be built on the platform its corporate cousin Porsche is developing for the Mission E sedan.

To be produced in Belgium, it promises to indeed be a high-tech, with typical Audi build quality.

Assuming it gets here in 2018 it will arrive in time for greater infrastructure and competitors in the works to to start fleshing out the electric SUV segment – even if Audi does not acknowledge Tesla as the “first” it says it will be.

Autocar via Inside EVs

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February 27, 2017 at 03:20AM

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