Electric-powered vehicles have been all the rage as of late, but consumers are still wary of them. The main issues preventing buyers from ditching refined dino blood and moving to electric are the uncertainty of the technology and the overall cost of these vehicles. The least-expensive, mass-produced electric vehicle that I can think of is the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV at around $23,000, but it can only travel 62 miles on a charge and takes 14 to 22 hours to recharge. On the other hand, the cream-of-the-crop Tesla Model S can travel up to 300 miles on a charge, but it costs nearly $100k to get into that range. According to a new report from Reuters, Audi is looking into giving buyers a bigger EV selection, as it has blueprints to enter the all-electric realm with a full range of vehicles.
We already know about the Audi R8 e-tron, which has been on and off for the last few years, but this report points toward Audi developing SUVs and sedans to complete the range. For now, Audi is keeping most of the details behind this electric lineup to itself, but it did release a few small bits of information.
Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s plans to go electric.
What We Know and What We Think
We know that Audi has recently flipped the switch back to "on" for the R8 e-tron, thanks to new developments in battery power and weight, but cost is still an issue. According to the Reuters report, Audi plans to offset some of the manufacturing costs by using its existing MLB platform to underpin the new electric cars. The report also claims that Audi is shooting for a 400-km ( 250-mile) range, which will help reduce some of the range concerns.
As for the cars that Audi plans to electrify, the details are very spotty. We know that the R8 is already on the board, and Reuters learned through "sources" that the Germans plan to also electrify the upcoming Q8 to take on the Tesla Model X, but the rest of the lineup is completely unknown. With Audi planning to use its existing MLB platform to underpin these cars, it would only make sense to see all of the MLB-based, mainstream models, like the A4, A5 and Q5, get electric power first. After that, look for the higher-end A7 and A8 models to join the party.
Why It Matters
I am not too sure if Tesla opening up its patents has anything to do with Audi deciding to develop its own electric lineup, but the timing makes me wonder if Audi may dip into these files to expand its knowledge. Regardless of the technology behind it, moving toward electric power is a great thing, and to see a powerhouse like Audi do it on a grand scale will quickly increase buyer comfort with EVs. This also means that the trickle-down effect in the automotive industry — new tech usually starts at the top and makes its way down to lower-end automakers — is soon to start flowing, leading to more wallet-friendly electric cars.
The Audi R8 e-tron project has seen its shares of ups and downs, as the German automaker has scrapped and revived it a few times. Back in January, Audi let the media know that the R8 e-tron was back on the table and that its board was discussing the matter. And recently, we learned that we should expect to see the R8 e-tron in European dealers in 2015.
The production model’s details are still under wraps, but we know that the latest news from Audi claimed it put out 380 horsepower and 605 pound-feet of twist. This was enough to sprint the model to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.2 seconds and up to a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph).