And now, 250 prototypes will set out for a combined 3.1 million miles of testing.
It’s no secret that Audi is working hard on an all-electric SUV, and now the Geneva Motor Show is our chance to see it – or at least prototypes wearing funky digital-camo graphics. These Audi E-Tron prototypes are, nonetheless, our best look yet at Audi’s future EV.
While the basic shape is similar to what we’ve seen in spy photos already, both on public roads and even at the Nürburgring. It’s a stylish crossover, with Audi’s familiar polygonal grille shape, squinty headlights, and full-width LED taillight strips all in view. Specifically, the orange-and-black trim around the lower part of these prototypes highlights where the battery pack resides, with the color hinting at the colors used to highlight high-voltage cabling.
We’re still waiting on solid numbers in terms of range or battery performance for the Audi E-Tron, but the automaker does say that the crossover can recharge at a high-speed charger in just 30 minutes, and that it will have all-wheel drive – as is expected of anything with the four-ring logo. The company also says that the “comfortable, spacious interior” will make it ideal “for everyday use,” which would seem like a given for any Audi model.
Reports suggest a driving range of 500 kilometers/311 miles, with two electric motors – one at the front, one at the back – to provide AWD. So far, Audi has said only that the driving range will be, “suitable for longer journeys.”
Audi now plans to send 250 prototypes on a round-the-world testing regimen that will cover 3.1 million miles on four continents, in temperature extremes from -4 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s exactly the sort of test regime one would expect for any new vehicle, of course.
Although the car shown in Geneva is only a prototype, Audi plans to put the E-Tron on sale in Europe by the end of this year. And by 2020, it will be joined by a production version of the rakish E-Tron Sportback concept, as well as “a model in the compact segment.” The E-Tron electric cars will be built at an Audi plant in Brussels, Belgium.
When the Audi E-Tron hits the market, it will compete with the Tesla Model X, as well as the newly announced Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover. Jag’s EV, for its part, will start at $70,495 in the U.S. and is expected to offer a 240-mile driving range.
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