Today, at Audi's annual press conference, engineering boss Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg revealed that the German automaker will use lessons learned from the electric R8 e-tron and apply them to "a large, family-friendly zero-emissions SUV in 2018," according to Auto Express.
This SUV, to be called the Audi Q8 e-tron (update: make that the Q6), will boast a range of over 300 miles (NEDC). Quoting Hackenberg:
"In early 2018, we will launch a battery-powered sports activity vehicle in the large premium segment with a range of more than 500 kilometres (300 miles). It will have a new, very attractive design, which we are developing especially for the e-tron range and for batter-powered vehicles. This sports activity vehicle will be built in the second generation of the modular longitude platform (MLB 2) - our concept for the optimal drivetrain diversity implementation.”
Auto Express explains that a "darkened image of the car (above) was also flashed up on the screen, showing a low-slung SUV silhouette, bulging wheelarches and razor sharp headlights and grille."
A formal presentation of the electric Q6, a crossover SUV is coming soon. Hackenberg states:
“It’s a more passenger orientated car, so for more than two passengers. But it will be a car which can be used by families that have some money, it is premium. It will have a big battery capacity and a range of more than 500km. We will make a presentation soon.”
Though the electric Q6 will be based off the same platform as the Q7, it will be a purpose-built electric. As Hackenberg explains:
“It will have a specific design, so we won’t take and A6 or a Q5 or whatever and integrate the battery electric drivetrain. The build system has the same architecture as an MLB car, that means we can build it in an MLB plant. MLB means that we can work with steel, with a mixture of materials and also with aluminium.”
As for the battery pack, some details were released on that too. Here's what Hackenberg stated:
“We started with a 25AH battery, now we have 28AH, we have 37AH samples for the next-generation of PHEVs and in this big EV I have talked about we will also have a battery capacity of 37ah.
“The next-generation has 41AH and then 50AH. We will see this increase by 2018 to around 2020. And we see that in the road map of the cell producers that there will be still higher capacities.”
“If you look to the package of the e-Golf, it’s able to run 180km in the test cycle and that’s with a 25aH battery, if you have a 50AH battery you can increase range to more than 300km, which makes things interesting. If you take a bigger car, like we are doing, then it should be possible to use a 90KWh battery, which is enough to satisfy most demands of a customer.”
Hackenberg admits that the Q (SUV) platform isn't ideal for a long-range electric given its size, weight and sub-optimal aerodynamics, but he stressed that buyers want electric SUVs, so Audi will deliver what the buying public demands.