Audi is set to be part of the electric car bandwagon beginning later this year when it launches the e-tron Quattro in select markets worldwide. The Audi E-tron quattro is priced from € 80,000 (Rs 64.02 lakh) in Germany and will take on the Jaguar I-Pace directly and the Tesla Model X to an extent. Slotting in between the Audi Q7 and the Q5 in terms of dimensions, Audi’s first all-electric SUV will set the path for more all-electric, mass-produced cars from the company.
Before unveiling an exclusive sketch of the new 4-door Audi e-tron GT, Rupert Stadler, Audi Chairman announced, “We will lead our high-performance brand Audi Sport into the electric future with models like this,” and went on to say “It proves that electric drive can also deliver high performance.” He also announced that the Ingolstadt based camaker will be working in synergy with VW’s other brands and specifically Porsche. He also went on to say that the company will be using platforms from Porsche to keep the development costs in check. Now if you put two and two together, it wouldn’t be blasphemy to think that the e-tron GT could infact be underpinned by the forthcoming Porsche Mission E.
Just to clear the air this will not be a concept and will go into production by 2020 and will go up against the formidable Tesla Model S.
Audi aims to have at least 10 all-electric and 10 hybrid models in its lineup by 2025, so expect frequent launches in the coming years. Audi is working in collaboration with group partners Porsche and Volkswagen to help develop the electric drivetrain, battery and autonomous driving tech faster and more affordable. The E-tron quattro will be assembled at the company’s repurposed ‘green’ assembly plant in Brussels, Germany. The plant in Hungary too will be converted to produce electric powertrains for Audi cars.
Apart from tip-toeing into the electric age, Audi also plans to go on a launch spree this year with more than 20 models set to be introduced. Of these, six will be all-new versions of existing cars – including cars like the new A6 – and the flagship Q8 SUV. Investment in future technologies including autonomous driving has been increased with Audi establishing Autonomous Intelligent Drive (AID) to develop the ‘Audi Speedboat’ software for an autonomous electric shuttle system as well private cars. This new autonomous tech could be introduced on roads worldwide beginning as early as 2021!
China remains a big focus for Audi, considering sales there are helping the company offset losses because of the buybacks/rectification of cars fitted with the controversial 3.0-litre V6 TDI engines in the US. In the next five years, Audi plans to launch 10 all-new SUVs in China, including the flagship Q8, which is set to be unveiled at the Auto China show in Shanghai, with seven out of the 10 being built locally!
How much of this action will India witness Most of it, hopefully. For one, It has been a difficult financial year after the dieselgate scandal and the Takata airbag recallswe know that Audi will trim down or modify their model ranges to reduce losses.. But the fight is not over, far from it.