Audi will take the fight to Tesla in the next few years with the launch of the pure electric Q8 e-tron quattro, reports Autobild. The project is allegedly known as ‘Tesla-fighter’ internally.
Germany’s leading car magazine says the Audi Q8 e-tron will have an electric range of up to 430 miles and as such is expected to go head-to-head with the upcoming Tesla Model X SUV. Whilst both cars will feature four-wheel drive, the Model X is anticipated to have a range of around 300 miles – significantly less than that which Audi is touting for the Q8 e-tron.
Autobild’s computer-generated image also suggests that the Audi Q8 e-tron will be styled in the same vein as the current A6 Avant and not an SUV. The magazine says, however, that it will be a derivative of the upcoming Q8, itself a four-door luxury coupé set to be built on the same platform as the Q7 SUV. The relatively high vehicle floor will facilitate plenty of room for the new generation of extremely power-dense batteries that are currently being tested. Overall performance will be comparable to that of the Audi A8, with an aluminum space-frame keeping overall weight down.
Th Audi Q8 e-tron will also borrow performance-enhancing technology from the upcoming R8 e-tron supercar, reports Autobild, including torque vectoring. The car is touted to use extremely powerful and torque-rich electric motors.
While the Model X will cost between $60,000 and $80,000, Autobild reports that a price tag for the Audi Q8 e-tron of less than $130,000 is simply unrealistic. Clearly unrivalled range comes at a premium.
The Tesla Model X is expected to go on sale late this year and a prototype version looking production-ready was recently spotted near Tesla’s headquarters in California. Seven seats, easy-access gullwing doors, and Tesla’s characteristic speed have meant that orders for the electric SUV has already surpassed 6,000.
After being put on ice last year, Audi’s electric ‘e-tron’ program, which will also go up against BMW’s i offerings as well as Tesla, appears to be picking up pace again. Recently the R8 e-tron supercar was confirmed for production this year and in 2017 the much-awaited A3 Sportback e-tron arrives in the US with an electric range of 31 miles.
If this revelation proves to be true then it’s interesting to see that Audi’s pure electric offering will hold position at the very top of market, the same ground the company’s conventional cars occupy. That approach is in contrast to Tesla’s, which aims to offer an affordable electric car costing around $35,000 with a 200-mile range by 2017. That car will most likely be called the Model E.