On August 19th, Audi announced that it plans to debut a luxury electric crossover concept at the International Motor Show (IAA) 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany this September, with plans to manufacture a production version by 2018.
The German brand’s concept, which it’s calling the Audi e-tron quattro, is the brand’s first large-series electric car. It comes along right as Silicon Valley automaker Tesla Motors is about a month away from delivering the first units of its Model X electric crossover. The two vehicles will be in direct competition.
The race to dominate the luxury electric vehicle segment was intensified as soon as Audi announced that its e-tron quattro is going to have a lithium-ion battery range of more than 310 miles (500 kilometers.) That’s slightly better than Tesla’s Model S sedan, which ranges from about 240 – 300 miles, depending on the model.
Tesla has not yet revealed the electric range for its Model X crossover.
The Audi e-tron quattro will follow the Audi “Aerosthetics” concept, combining technical measures for reducing aerodynamic drag with their signature design solutions. It will have movable aerodynamic elements at the front, on the sides, and at the rear improve the airflow around the car. The underbody will be completely closed, with a cd value of 0.25.
The Audi e-tron quattro will be longer than the Audi Q5 crossover, but shorter than the Q7. It will have a typical SUV body and a flat “coupe-like” cabin which will seat four passengers, compared to the five the Model S currently fits.
The lithium-ion battery will be positioned between the axles and below the passenger compartment to provide a low center of gravity and a balanced axle load distribution for superior handling and safety. Audi said it’s drawing upon the engineering expertise it acquired from creating the electrically driven R8 e-tron sports car. Because it will have three electric motors – one on the front axle and two on the rear axle – it deemed the concept “an electrified quattro, the e-tron quattro – efficient and dynamic at the same time.”