Audi Readies Its Pair Of Electric Tesla Fighters

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 49

Audi R8 E-tron Production-Bound

Audi R8 E-tron Production-Bound

Audi Plug In Concept

Audi Plug In Concept

Reuters is reporting the following:

“Audi has drawn up blueprints for a wider range of high-performance electric cars to help it take on German rivals and U.S. firm Tesla Motors if the market picks up, according to sources at the carmaker.”

This “wider range of high-performance electric cars” includes the Audi R8 e-tron, a pure BEV soon-to-be available (2015) by special order only.  Range for the R8 e-tron is claimed to be 280 miles, according to Audi.

Aside from the R8 e-tron, Reuters provides only this rather vague statement on the future electric high-performance Audis:

“Meanwhile, Audi has scaled up its electric car plans, having devised blueprints for several high-performance electric saloons and sport-utility vehicles, two company sources told Reuters, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.”

So, we don’t know what’s in the works, but at least the EV pot is being stirred up over at Audi.

Reuters adds:

“The manufacturer has shown various hybrid and purely electric concept cars since about 2009, but the latest blueprints stand a bigger chance of getting the nod for production after it lately overcame range limits.”

It was those range limitations that Audi says held the automaker back from diving into electrics.  Now that the range issue has been solved, Audi is ready to jump in.

Here’s what else we’ve learned from Audi:

  • All pure BEVs with an Audi badge will have no less than 400 km (249 miles) of range
  •  A new Q8 electric SUV (more details here) is expected to come.  It’ll directly target the Tesla Model X.

These developments over at Audi have certainly piqued our interest.  You can bet there will be more and more Audi sightings on these pages in the near future.

Source: Reuters

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49 responses to "Audi Readies Its Pair Of Electric Tesla Fighters"

  1. MDEV says:

    When I see it I’ll believe it…….

    1. kdawg says:

      “In the year 2000, Audi will have a plug-in for sale.”

      1. vdiv says:

        Ok Conan! 🙂

        I’ve been thinking the same thing. Audi has been taking that whole thing of the EV being the car of the future quite literally. Maybe they should wake up and smell the coffee.

        InsideEVs, you may want to consider your coverage not simply becoming an extension of automakers’ marketing (lying, deceiving, spewing FUD) machines.

      2. James says:

        LOL! Good job, K!

      3. Anon says:

        Brilliant and spot on as usual. 🙂

  2. Josh says:

    Blueprint sounds like an artist sketch and an excel spreadsheet of specs/costs waived in front of the executive team. The market in Germany is very small, so not likely to see this until they can hit meaningful numbers on their home turf.

    I hope one day they will prove me wrong and actually release volume plug-ins worldwide.

    1. pjwood says:

      Whoah, nobody said anything about the Excel stage.

  3. Benz says:

    All vehicles with a plug and a battery pack are welcome. The more the better, any manufacturer and/or brand.

    1. Mikael says:

      All that actually get produced or will be produced for real. 😉

      Audi is the king of vaporware when it comes to electric vehicles of any kind. And products that only exist on paper and in press releases are not helping.

  4. leafer says:

    Audi had scaled up it press release car plans…..

  5. leafer says:

    if the market picks up……..

  6. EdoTesla says:

    And how will an owner charge one of those vehicles on road trips?

    1. +265

      This is so often missed. Tesla is selling a system, not just a car.

      The difference is like buying a standalone computer in the early 80s vs buying a networked computer today. Just a completely different level of utility.

      Going to a dealer to use a single SAE combo just isn’t going to cut it. (There’s a reason Superchargers, even in fairly remote locations, have 4-8 stalls)

  7. Peder says:

    Audi needs to become a verb. “To Audi an EV” means all hat, no cattle.

  8. mustang_sallad says:

    Inside EV’s seems to attract a whole bunch of readers who would much rather every automaker surprise us with the sudden release of a never before mentioned vehicle, heaven forbid they should talk about it before it’s released. VW just sold more plug-ins in Norway last month than Nissan and Tesla combined – how much longer do the naysayers have to keep doubting VW groups commitment plugin vehicles?? Sometimes it seems as though some people don’t even want anybody other than Nissan and Tesla to succeed in this market…

    1. DaveMart says:

      Exactly.

      The German home market is not favourable to BEV cars with zero subsidy, high electricity rates and the potential for hours of high speed travel on the autobahn.

      To what extent is that now the VW group’s home market?
      China is by far their largest market, and for any business home is where the sales are.

      China now has a larger incentive for electric vehicles than the US or Europe ex Norway, and the VW group has well established manufacturing there, which will make the authorities look on them in a more favourable light than Tesla.

      As for all the: ‘Why didn’t they do it before?’ cries, they neither had a platform suitable for PHEVs and BEVs nor the batteries.

      They now have the platforms, and are getting the batteries.

      Tesla stole a march on everyone else with their NCA 18650 battery use, but the rest of the industry is hunting them down now.

      1. VW sales close to nothing electric in UK, Denmark and France and they have high subsidies and VW oil cars are very present there.

        1. DaveMart says:

          They have only just released some of their EV cars, and have not yet released their PHEVs, so it is unsurprising that sales figures don’t show much yet.

          1. Mike says:

            The eGolf was just releases and is doing well. The Germans were waiting for a German car.

      2. pjwood says:

        “hunting them down”? Really.

        VWG has a platform for 10kwh. The storage for 50-100kwh is something they are apparently still doodling.

        Doodling is not hunting.

    2. Josh says:

      VW/Audi had a history of announcing, then canceling plug-in products. So it is a bit a of a crying wolf scenario. The only member of the auto group that has made a real push is Porsche, but they are a small volume player.

      I am probably even more jaded, because of living in Texas. There are really only 4 plug-in vehicles available. LEAF, Volt, Model S, and the last couple months i3. I have seen a total of 3 Ford plug-in vehicles in 4 years here (two live in my neighborhood). I almost break my neck looking for the Energi badging any time a Fusion/C-Max drive by.

      Here is an anecdote of purchasing a plug-in here. I had my wife convinced to buy a Volt a couple years ago. Searched online for the vehicle with the specs she liked. Made an appointment to visit the dealer. The dealer didn’t have the car there, didn’t have any idea when it would arrive, and had no Volt of any kind for her to test drive. The salesperson did want to talk numbers, and wouldn’t even offer incentives that I knew were going on. My wife is not patient, so it was back to an ICE for her.

      1. mustang_sallad says:

        Did you even read my post?? How can you call it “crying wolf” when they outsold almost all other PEV manufacturers combined in one of the hottest markets?

        1. Nate says:

          They may have hurdles to succeeding in the U.S. that they don’t in Norway, so getting excited about VW announcements could mean you are setting yourself up for a letdown.

          I agree that there are some commentators that repeat the same crap, because they really only want Nissan and Tesla to succeed.

          However, there are also commentators who want the other automakers to do a better job of supporting and promoting plug-ins. This is tough, because part of the problem is the situation with the U.S. dealership network and the independently owned dealers. Tesla doesn’t have existing franchised dealers to worry about stepping on … so they’ve got a nice advantage here. However, Nissan seems to have this figured this dealership issue out slightly better than others. I also think they’ve done a better job with their own advertising than Ford and GM have.

          I thought Josh’s comment you replied to reflected someone who wanted other plug-ins to succeed … after all he suggested the Volt to his wife but the dealership made it to much of a hassle to buy.

          You have a good point about Norway, but I would not dismiss Johs’s point about being VW being big on announcements and not on delivering. It remains to be seen if VW group will deliver in the U.S. Simply having a good product is not enough. You have to support it well. Getting your dealerships to support it at the sales and service level in the U.S. is key.

        2. Josh says:

          These are the two examples that come up on a quick search:

          http://www.plugincars.com/expected-audi-cancels-two-plug-vehicle-projects-122005.html

          http://www.leftlanenews.com/audi-pulls-the-plug-on-r8-e-tron-electric-super-car.html

          I may not have been clear in my comments, but I am really hoping that VW/Audi releases some awesome plug-ins, in the US, to all 50 states.

    3. e-Golf got higher numbers, because this are pre-order backlog deliveries.

    4. DonC says:

      I don’t get too excited when a manufacturer takes and ICE body and sticks a battery pack in it. This approach always results in a less than great vehicle. Additionally, given you can’t tell what it is, one that won’t do that well in the market. If we learned anything from the success of the Prius versus the legion of other hybrids, it’s this.

      1. Tim says:

        I actually feel the opposite. I despise the EVs that were designed to “look like an EV”. I think that’s why the Model S is so well liked. It just looks like a good, typical car. The i-Miev, Leaf, and i3 are (in my opinion) abominations when it comes to their styling. The Volt is at least much better, and the ELR is probably closest to matching a futuristic EVish car that also looks great.

        1. DonC says:

          You actually make my point, which would be that there ISN’T an ICE version of the Model S. If you know what you’re looking at you KNOW what it is. Ditto for the Volt and the Leaf and the i3. Compare this to a Fiat 500 or a Prius or a Toyota RAV4 EV. In these gases you only know it’s an EV if you can see HOV stickers.

      2. You make a good point Don, but Ford is actually doing very well with its Energi line. Sales of the Fusion Energi for the last couple months have matched Plug in Prius.

        And Ford does not promote the Energi at all (literally no ad budget for Energi)

        There may be an advantage to “signature” styling” but it’s probably more important that the car is highly attractive. No one wants to wear an ugly suit or dress.

  9. Anton Wahlman says:

    Once electric cars start to approach 1% of car sales, obviously Audi and others will become interested in offering a product for this niche buyer.

    1. With respect Anton, I believe you are completely missing what is actually happening.

      When you are being seriously disrupted, you can not wait for your disruptor to get a 1% jump on you.

      Audi does know this and I believe they will have a credible response. They have publicly said as much.

      The Tesla model S and X does not just appeal to a niche buyer. Tesla is getting serious mind share (future intent) from luxury performance segment buyers. They are already eroding market share from BMW and Audi.

      Given how long it takes to mount a response in the automotive world, especially when you add in long distance infrastructure, there is no more time remaining for “wait and see”.

      1. Mike says:

        Solar and wind are kicking rear in Texas, and still Exxon is out to lunch. Which may just prove your point.

      2. pjwood says:

        But in the grander scheme of cars, VWG also admits they don’t get the U.S. market. I buy that.

        Audi didn’t think they would rue the day when car buyers not only started buying electric substitutes, but began to understand why the majors didn’t want to sell them something better. This way, not only did they loose the race, but they’ll get blamed for deliberately missing the starting gun. They aren’t alone. The auto media, and about half our politics, are right there with them.

  10. Alonso Perez says:

    I think they could stay in denial with Tesla, for a while anyway, but with BMW (a “real” automaker) solidly in the game now, Audi is realizing that there is a market there and that they ignore it to their peril.

  11. Sirming says:

    Veeery funny:
    1) “It was those range limitations that Audi says held the automaker back from diving into electrics. Now that the range issue has been solved, Audi is ready to jump in.”
    2.1) All pure BEVs with an Audi badge will have no less than 400 km (249 miles) of range
    2.2) A new Q8 electric SUV is expected to come. It’ll directly target the Tesla Model X.
    Translation to REAL english:
    1) We never cared about BEV, we sell lots of ICEs, why to be worried about? But now, OH, Tesla is teasing us one important segment, making us lose money, let’s counter them.
    2.1)Our cars will have Tesla’s cars range (why to give more? In fact we don’t care about EVs, we do that because of Tesla’s success).
    2.2)What car we will do? Tesla’s p..n in the a.s competence: Model X.
    Bravo Audi, I see you’re starting to take Tesla seriously…

  12. Stimpacker says:

    Good news for the BEV world.

    One very important point – if Audi is indeed that serious, their BEV’s should be Tesla SuperCharge compatible. Either that or they build their own network of DCFC correctly.

    The only way BEV’s will be adopted by single car families is if the charge (not range) anxiety is removed and Tesla did that right.

    Even if Audi or Nissan came up with a 200 mile BEV and used the Nissan DCFC approach, I will always have my V8 ICE sedan for long trips.

    What is Charge Anxiety?
    1) Is the charger close to the freeway and restaurants?
    2) Is the charger available 24/7?
    3) Does the charge station have multiple bays?
    4) Does the charge station have issues authorizing a charge session?
    5) What are my options if the entire charge station is unavailable? Is another one within range?

    1. DaveMart says:

      The Audi’s and VW’s are compatible with most of the chargers out there, unlike the Tesla’s which have to carry an additional lead, I believe.

      If they need to upgrade a few hundred chargers to offer super fast charge to compete with the Tesla supercharger network, so what?

      The VW groups investment budget is enough to pay for around 1 battery gigafactory every three months or so, so when they want a supercharging network of their own they can build one out of the petty cash.

      The Lord of the Four Rings has only stretched forth his hand to assay the strength of Tesla!

      The gates are about to open and the hordes pour forth!

      Awake Tesla fans!
      The hour of your doom is upon you!

      1. DonC says:

        For Tesla the saving grace is that Audi and VW would be two companies quite capable of making cars less reliable than the Model S. LOL

      2. Stimpacker says:

        I normally don’t response to false postings like DaveMart’s but I’ll make an exception.

        What are these “most chargers” out there that you refer to?
        J1772 is only good for charging at home or at work. I’m no EV fanboy so I refuse to wait for a charge at 20-30mi/hr.
        DCFC’s in USA are mostly ChadeMO – mostly the ones setup by Nissan.

        I’m no EV fanboy. In fact, I insist on driving any EV normally (i.e. freeway speeds) and can barely tolerate the charging wait times. My family is in the car, we have places to go. So is it too much to ask for a charging experience as close to the pump gas experience?

        Right now, only Tesla offers that. I’m not advocating for Tesla – I am advocating for their methodology of rolling out a charging network – location, 24/7, multiple bays, prepaid. JUST LIKE A GAS STATION.

        Please leave the pompous words at home.

        1. Josh says:

          I agree with most of what you say. But just to clarify, no gas stations are pre-paid for life like the SuperChargers. For anyone that makes regular trips along the SuperCharger paths it is a strong value proposition that no other vehicle offers.

      3. DaveMart, no doubt VW Group has all the money needed to roll out a credible alternative to the SuperCharger network. But they haven’t done it, pursuing diesel instead. Talk about “not getting” the US market.

        It takes more than a magic wand to build a supercharger network.

        First you’ve got to “get it”. Then you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and find sites *where drivers need them*, get permits, and hire contractors.

        That doesn’t happen in a flash, like in the movies.

        You can go back to your fantasy now.

  13. MDEV says:

    There are some automakers that are already in the 3rd generations of imaginary PEV/EV. Audi is one of them.

    1. Anon says:

      +1

      Yeah, actually BRING IT THIS TIME, Audi… *yawn

      We’re tired of waiting.

  14. krona2k says:

    Well the e-Tron at least looks very likely to be a purchasable item in the UK this year:

    http://www.audi.co.uk/content/audi/e-tron/e-tron.html

    It’s not yet showing prices and specs but it’s right there on the front page as a soon to be available car, not as a concept.

  15. kompot2211 says:

    First they ignore you, then they radicule you, then they fight you and then you win.

  16. kompot2211 says:

    Audi past the first 2 stages and now they try to fight Tesla:)

  17. Mike I says:

    It would be very interesting for VW group to negotiate for the R8 EV to SuperCharge enabled. The cost to VW would be very low due to small volume, but would make that car much more viable. The integration of CCS and SuperCharging in one vehicle inlet would also be very interesting as an engineering exercise on a low production car.

  18. FireWorks says:

    Audi wishes it was tesla and then they wake up ! oh ….it was only a dream
    They are not…
    they are ajust vapour ware

  19. Scott says:

    Audi and all other major manufacturers face these hurdles. The cars they build and sell have too many unnecessary parts.
    Their dealer network depends on these parts and the vehicles complexity for their survival and will fight any attempt to eliminate regular service.
    The dealer adds an average of $1800.00 to the purchase price of the vehicle including the $150.00 to $300.00 delivery charge.
    They are in the wrong business. The car is now a battery on four wheels with a computer. It will be and already is in the case of Tesla connected to the factory and can be instantly updated as well as fleet-wide trend monitored. This tight integration extends to the free charging network as well and it’s a distributed system that is not at the mercy of big price fluctuations. This is not the same thing as the car telling you it’s time to go back to the dealer for more service or having a speech activated radio.
    They don’t understand the voice of the customer.
    They will have a hard time with self-driving vehicles because gas car complexity is no match for autonomous driving EV’s that will charge inductively.
    They will either have to face these and many other challenges or continue stalling and fielding cars they have no intention of selling just to stifle the competition.
    I want to be wrong on this. If they don’t start to build great all electric cars soon most of us will still be driving their obsolete products for another 15 or twenty years.