Audi R8 e-tron track drive, Berlin Tempelhof AirportEnlarge Photo
Audi may have failed to outshine closest rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the area of electric cars, but the automaker from Ingolstadt is out to change that. And to do so it plans to target one of the leaders in the field, Tesla.
The information was first reported by Autocar, citing some sources at Audi. Rather than target the existing Tesla Model S electric sedan, the sources say Audi will challenge Tesla Motors’ [NSDQ:TSLA] upcoming Model X crossover with its own electric version of the oft-rumored Q8 crossover.
The Q8, which is tipped to arrive within the next couple of years, will be a sleeker and sportier version of the 2015 Audi Q7 due out later this year. While regular models will continue with gasoline, diesel and possibly plug-in hybrid powertrains, the electric version, likely to be called a Q8 e-tron, is said to get the high-performance electric drive system developed for the R8 e-tron electric sports car, which is now officially back on the table after the project was recently stalled.
For the Q8 e-tron, engineers are reportedly targeting an electric driving range of 370 miles. In its current form, Audi's high-performance electric drive system offers a range of about 250 miles in the R8 e-tron. The only roadblock to launching either vehicle is the batteries, though the technology is expected to sufficiently advance in time for the vehicles’ respective market launches.
Stay tuned for an update.