Audi unveiled the prototype for its first all-electric model at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Until the start of series production, almost 250 development vehicles will complete testing under extreme conditions worldwide and this is one reason why you see a camouflaged car make its way on the stand at the Motor Show.
The e-tron prototype offers a preview of the first all-electric model from the brand with the four rings and the camouflage conceals a sporty premium SUV with space for five. We got a chance to speak to Rupert Stradler, Chairman Of The Board of Management, Audi, who told us about the idea behind making the e-tron. He said, "We started sometime back with the e-tron philosophy and I had said bac k then that we'll be able, technically, to provide consumers a solution with a range of around 500 km, then we're in business. Our engineers have done a great job and it was at the Frankfurt Motor Show two years ago with the e-tron concept and now the baby is getting mature. In August 2018, we will come up with the Audi e-tron."
The car will be produced in Brussels and Audi is now preparing the factory for production to begin. While some of us were wondering if Audi would bring out a sports car as its first electric model, but the company has chosen an SUV and justifiably so. Stradler said, "Some years ago we started with the idea of the R8 e-tron, and we developed prototypes and tested the technology. Market analusis showed that the SUV body-style was in demand and 3 or 4 years ago when I said, 'Let's go with the SUV', everyone said, 'Are you crazy?' but finally, when we saw what's happening in China and even India, and even around the world, the SUV trend is on the rise and this is a very sexy car."
The production version of the Audi e-tron prototype can fill up on electricity at fast-charging stations with up to 150 kW charging capacity. In just under 30 minutes, the SUV is then ready for the next leg of the long-distance journey. The electrical quattro makes the e-tron a four-wheel drive car and the sporty SUV will complete test drives on four continents, whether in the cold of Scandinavia or the heat of Africa, in the mountainous altitudes of Asia or on the north loop of the Nurburgring, in the stop-and-go traffic of major Chinese cities or on American highways. In addition, intensive tests of the charging technology are being conducted worldwide - an important safeguarding criterion for battery-electric models.
In 2020 Audi will have three all-electric vehicles in its product range, with a four-door Gran Turismo - the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept - and a model in the compact segment joining the sporty SUV. It will be launching more than 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2025 - spread across all segments and concepts.