Audi e-tron SPortback concept

Audi takes the fight
to Tesla

Words: Nile Bijoux
18 Apr 2017

If you think of electric cars, you immediately think of Tesla. Audi, however, have a plan in mind.

That plan involves an all-electric crossover SUV. While that particular combination might not be revolutionary anymore, Audi is really talking the talk over at the e-tron Sportback's debut in Shanghai.

Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, said: “Our [first] Audi e-tron will be starting out in 2018 – the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use." Brave words, considering Tesla already have two, and very nearly three electric cars that could easily be argued are fit for everyday use. Jaguar also offer the I-Pace around the same time. Both Audi and Jag are claiming ranges of over 500km for their upcoming cars as well.

The e-tron Sportback, which is set to release in 2019, pushes heavily on lighting to make it "thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance.” Digitally controlled Matrix LEDs on the front and rear provide optimal light yield, and arrays of light strips below the daytime running lights offer "a vast array of possibilities for creating engaging graphics or specific communicative signs, even while on the move." More LEDs dotted around the car allow for dynamic welcome signals and a large number of animated movements.

In terms of drivetrain, the e-tron Sportback uses an all-electric configuration that will be implemented more in the future. One electric motor on the front axle and two on the rear power all four wheels, transforming the high-performance coupé into a quattro in typical Audi style. 320 kW of power – which can even reach 370 kW in the boost mode – provide a fitting level of propulsion, with the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h a done deal in just 4.5 seconds. 

2018 should see the release of the e-tron SUV, with the Sportback shown off in Shanghai this year hitting roads the year after. New Zealand details are yet to be announced.

The question remains though - is Audi's bullish talk just that or will the e-tron be the electric car to have? We'll have to wait and see... 


NZ Autocar

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