Is Audi testing an electric A7?

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Earlier today we brought you spy shots of a prototype for the next-generation Audi A7.

On closer inspection, there appear to be signs that suggest the prototype might be for an electric version of the new A7.

A shot of the rear reveals no exhaust tips whatsoever. It’s hard to gauge from the angle but there also doesn’t appear to be a muffler or piping of any kind.

We also cannot see any fuel filler door on the flanks of the car. Normally, one would be located on one of the rear fenders.

2016 Audi A3 e-Tron Sportback, San Francisco Bay Area, Oct 2015

2016 Audi A3 e-Tron Sportback, San Francisco Bay Area, Oct 2015

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Audi doesn’t sell an electric car but previous concepts from the company as well as the A3 e-tron Sportback plug-in hybrid feature charging ports located behind the grille. Accessing these involves sliding the four-ring logo to the side.

There is a radiator peeking through the grille on the prototype, though electric cars still require cooling for their batteries and other powertrain hardware.

Audi’s Volkswagen Group parent is committed to launching as many as 30 electric cars by the end of 2025 across its various brands. Many of these, perhaps most even, will come from Audi.

In 2018 Audi will launch its first electric car, a mid-size SUV based on 2015’s e-tron Quattro concept. It will be followed by two more electric cars by 2020, CEO Rupert Stadler recently revealed. It’s possible one of the two will be an electric A7.

Audi e-tron quattro concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Audi e-tron quattro concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

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The electric SUV, which may be labeled a Q6 e-tron, is expected to offer close to 300 miles of range on a single charge. It’s likely an electric A7 will offer similar range, making the car a rival to Tesla Motors’ [NSDQ:TSLA] Model S.

Audi has previewed a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in its current A7, but the automaker has stated that production of a fuel cell model will depend on adequate hydrogen fueling infrastructure being in place.

The new A7 is expected to be revealed in 2017. Stay tuned for updates as development continues.

 
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