This is the Audi e-tron quattro concept set to premiere in the metal at the Frankfurt motor show next next month.
It “provides an outlook” on Audi’s first series production pure-electric car — a large SUV with a driving range above 500km. Expected to be called Q6 e-tron, the new SUV will lay down the gauntlet to the imminent Tesla Model X when Audi puts it into production in 2018.
The teaser images revealed by Audi tonight ahead of the world premiere show those leaked pictures we shared a few weeks ago were on the money. The concept car will premiere about six months after it was first broached by Audi’s technical development chief Ulrich Hackenberg.
The Audi e-tron quattro concept is a very interesting car indeed. It was designed from the ground up as an electric car, much like the Tesla Model S. Audi has been a major proponent of "bridging technologies" such as plug-in hybrids to now, such as the A3 e-tron launching locally next week.
Audi says the e-tron quattro concept follows the Audi “Aerosthetics” concept, combining technical measures for reducing aerodynamic drag with “creative design solutions”. Movable aerodynamic elements at the front, on the sides and at the rear improve the air flow around the car, while the aerodynamically optimized underbody is completely closed.
With a claimed cd value of 0.25, the car sets a new record in the SUV segment. This contributes considerably, says Audi, to the 500km-plus range that will see the production Q6 e-tron (if it wears that name) challenge the Model X.
The concept is based on Audi’s second-generation modular longitudinal platform (MLB). Its length is between that of the Audi Q5 and the Q7. The typical SUV body and flat, coupe-like cabin are said to give the e-tron quattro concept a “very dynamic appearance”. Expect touches such as laser headlights outside, and a full OLED interface inside.
The concept is only a four-seater though, given the large lithium-ion battery is positioned between the axles and below the passenger compartment. This installation position, Audi says, lowers the centre of gravity and balances the axle load distribution. That theoretically gives the car better driving dynamics.
Audi announced recently that it will be working on new “powerful cell modules” from battery specialists LG Chem and Samsung SDI. The two South Korean companies are set to invest in the cell technology ahead of supplying Audi with high-range battery packs for future models from their respective European plants.
Audi says it has used its experience with the electrically driven 340kW/920Nm Audi R8 e-tron supercar for the drive system. Three electric motors – one on the front axle and two on the rear axle – drive the e-tron quattro concept, making it an electrified quattro.
The Audi Q6 e-tron will be one of at least three brand-new SUV lines set to join to the Audi line-up by 2019, with a pocket-sized Q1 set for 2016 and a sportier new flagship version of the Q7, to be called the Q8, set to debut in 2019. This latter car will challenge the imminent BMW X7 and next Mercedes-Benz GLS.
As we know, Audi — one of the Volkswagen Group’s major breadwinners — is embarking on the biggest investment program in its history, expanding its investment to 24 billion euros ($A36 billion) to accelerate the growth of its vehicle portfolio and production network between now and the end of the decade.
Approximately 17 billion euros will go towards funding the development of new models and technologies, with efficiency and connectivity the company’s two key buzz words for the next five years.
By the end of 2020, Audi plans to expand its model portfolio from 50 to 60 models. The company says its main focus will be on new models in the C and D segments as well as the aforementioned growth in the Q SUV family.