Audi’s first production electric car will be a crossover to fight the Tesla Model X, the German luxury carmaker said Wednesday.
Concept drawings and initial specifications released by Audi detailed their crossover that is powered by three electric motors — borrowed from its R8 e-tron concept car — with a proposed range of over 300 miles. According to Audi, the crossover, which is called the “e-tron quattro concept,” would slot between the company’s 182.6-inch Q5 and 200.3-inch Q7. Tesla’s Model X is 197 inches long.
The crossover’s lithium-ion battery would give the car a range more than 300 miles.
Audi announced this week that its plug-in hybrid version of the A3, dubbed A3 Sportback e-tron, will go on sale in October and cost $38,825 to start — $47,725 in Prestige trim — before federal and state incentives.
The car, which combines an 8.8 kWh battery and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, will make a combined 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy and range for all-electric driving hasn’t been announced by the automaker, although some reports peg the EV range at 30 miles.
The A3 plug-in hybrid will be the first Audi to run (at least partially) on electricity in the States.
It’s no fun knocking Tesla. Having spent my most formative years growing up just South of the Silicon Valley, and as a lifelong resident of the West Coast of the United States, Tesla’s the closest thing I’ve got to a home team in the auto industry. In fact, as I write this, a Tesla-branded coffee mug, sits due East of my keyboard, a thoughtful housewarming gift from a kind family friend. This unexpected gift, and the frisson around Tesla’s newly-public stock price prove that there’s a lot of excitement around the California upstart. Unfortunately, Tesla is but a small, inexperienced fish swimming in the global shark tank of the auto industry. Now, one of the big sharks, Volkswagen, is beginning to circle for the kill.
The Wankel rotary engine returns to its native land at last. Since the NSU Ro 80 went out of production in 1977, Mazda has been the keeper of the flame. But Audi has announced that it will show an A1 e-tron concept at the Geneva show this week, and the pug-in will feature a single-rotor Wankel range extender (gen set). Rotaries and micro-turbines have often been suggested as the ultimate range extenders due to their compact size and low weight. (Read More…)
After backing away from the ridiculous torque figures it gave with its R8-based e-tron, Audi is having another crack at the electric sportscar theme with a second e-tron concept at the NAIAS. Of course by not giving it a new name, Audi created the impression that this might be a very similar concept to the R8-based model it says its going to build at some point. The e-tron mk II is, however, a very different beast. Where as the first e-tron was an electrification and restyling of the R8, the e-tron 2 actually previews the look of an eventual R4 sportscar, based on Volkswagen’s Blue Sport concept. If Audi eventually sells an EV version of that vehicle (and they say the e-tron name will become a brand for Audi EVs) and it’s materially the same as this concept, it would be the first RWD production Audi since… well, why don’t we have some guesses?
We all hoped/thought that Tron was a relic left to the distant 80’s acid trips, but Audi has decided to bring it back again. Shown at the Frankfurt motor show their e-tron concept looks strangely close to production to me. Supposedly debuting two years from now as a 2012 production model buyers willing to fork out huge sums of cash will be treated to more than 3,300 ft-lbs of torque and 313hp, for no doubt very limited distances between charges.