Three Audi EVs due by 2020

Audi is forging ahead with an electric model line-up if two of Britain's largest automotive publications are anything to go by. An electric mid-sized sporty SUV and sleek Tesla Model S rivalling saloon are both on the cards according to Auto Express and Autocar respectively.

In the space of 24 hours both publications have run stories claiming that Audi's confirmed future EV model line-up will extend from one to three in the next few years. The e-tron quattro large SUV was confirmed at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, but it looks as though it will be joined by the large saloon - labelled A9 e-tron by Autocar - and a coupe-like SUV tagged Q4 e-tron by Auto Express.

Autocar's news comes from an interview with Audi chief Rupert Stadler, who said: "By 2020 we will have three EVs in the line-up. We'll start with the production version of the e-tron quattro concept car, which will have a range of up to 500km. By 2025, 25 per cent of our line-up will be battery-driven models."

He went on to describe the saloon as being "as high up as possible, in the A8 segment", putting electric vehicles as the flagship models for both Audi's saloon and SUV ranges come 2020.

Audi Prologue Avant concept

Audi Prologue Avant - similar in style and concept to what we could expect from a range-topping A9 e-tron

It is expected that the two models - 'A9 etron' and e-tron quattro - will share the same powertrain, which for the latter has been confirmed as using three electric motors to offer up to 429bhp, powered by a 95kWh battery pack that will provide a range of around 310 miles. Expected in 2018, the e-tron quattro looks set to boast a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 130mph.

What is newly revealed is that the models will use asynchronous electric motors. Audi's Head of Technical Development Stefan Knirsch has been quoted as saying: "Some rivals have gone for a synchronous motor with a high power density but at relatively low revs.

"There are also asynchronous motors that typically achieve similar power outputs but at much higher revs. From 2018, our electric cars will be equipped with asynchronous motors. We are convinced they offer higher efficiency levels than synchronous motors." He went on to comment on the different set-up options that are opened up with the use of multiple electric motors.

"You’ll see significant differences in the torque vectoring, the four-wheel drive set-up and the power electronic packages," said Knirsch.

Meanwhile, Auto Express has been digging about in the more technical areas of the automotive industry and brought a couple of threads together to speculate that a sporty electric SUV will be on its way soon.

Audi has submitted a fresh trademark application for the Q4 name - a badge that was only released by Alfa Romeo within the past year as it used Q4 to denote its four-wheel drive system. Audi negotiated with the Italian firm to release both the Q2 and Q4 names, with the Q2 already available to buy.

This new piece of paperwork has been added to the fact that Samsung has confirmed that it will open a new battery factory in Hungary, investing more than £270 million and due to open in 2018. This will produce 50,000 EV batteries each year, and although Samsung currently supplies BMW with batteries, the factory is less than two hours and 100 miles away from the plant where Audi builds its TT.

Auto Express speculates that the two pieces of news could easily be linked, bringing a model based on the TT Offroad concept - pictured top, which featured a PHEV e-tron powertrain - to market to compete with the likes of BMW's X4 and the Mercedes GLC Coupe.

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Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:31st Aug 2016

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