Audi is now taking orders for its rather expensive upcoming E-tron in Europe, and the company says the game-changer will be a "volume model."
While there was some early speculation that the all-electric Audi E-tron might beat the Jaguar I-Pace to market, we now know that this isn't the case. Nonetheless, Audi is still aiming for 2018 production, with first deliveries in 2019. Marketing boss Bran Schot commented:
"The E-tron will be a game-changer for Audi. It’s our first electric model, and it's going to be a volume model."
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The automaker is providing the impression that it was waiting for some necessary advancements to fall into place. Sales and marketing boss for the company, Dietmar Voggenreiter shared that battery tech is now where it needs to be and charging infrastructure is beginning to grow more quickly.
However, Audi has made it clear that it will not be independently focusing on charging points. Voggenreiter said:
"A 400-500km range must be possible and we must have a fast charging infrastructure. Both things are coming in 2018. The battery energy density is there and there's already a lot of charging infrastructure in Europe, the US and Asia."
"It’s not our job to invest in charging points. We're pushing and organising this, though, and working with our partners on it."
"No cars, no infrastructure, but in the next two years there will be lots of investments."
He reminded that Audi (and Volkswagen Group as a whole) is working with Ford, Daimler, and BMW to assure that a fast-charging network is available. The exec explained that there has really been no need to push the situation since there haven't been enough electric vehicles on the road to cause a huge need ... yet.
Audi has plans to test the 250 prototypes for an extended period of time before revealing a production version. Following that, the vehicle will launch progressively, beginning in Europe. The automaker then has plans to follow the E-tron with 20 electrified models (half of which will be BEVs) by 2025. The SUV is first for obvious reasons, however. Voggenreiter continued:
"A lot of customers have been asking when we’ll bring this car to market. There's certainly demand in the premium segment; it’s the right product. It’s a real SUV, with Audi design language."
Audi is not ready to discuss actual production or sales goals, though its test market suggests that demand is in the "double-digit thousands."