Audi has just confirmed it will be launching a fully-electric four-door GT model in 2020 to rival the Tesla Model S, which will be a gran turismo sibling of the e-tron SUV that arrives later this year. And these will be just two of the 20 electrified models the German luxury brand is going to be bringing us by the year 2025.
At its recent annual press conference, the manufacturer announced it will launch no fewer than five of those models by as soon as 2021, so we will soon have a Q3-sized EV crossover, the e-tron, e-tron Sportback and the e-tron GT.
Perhaps what’s most interesting about Audi’s conversion to the electric cause is a focus on what will be special “Audi Sport” performance models. Audi’s chairman Rupert Stadler stressed the importance of performance models to the brand, even in its electric portfolio. Stadler said at the press conference: “We interpret sportiness very progressively with our fully electric e-tron GT, and this is how we will take our high-performance brand Audi Sport into the future.”
The big shift towards electrified vehicles also explains why Audi has admitted the current R8 will be the last, and like the Beetle, there will not be a new-generation in the foreseeable future.
When challenged at the conference about which Audi model would be the first to use the Volkswagen Group’s pure-electric MEB platform that’s set to underpin VW’s I.D. line-up, Stadler stated: “It’ll be a neat, chic vehicle, with SUV character.”
Horst Glaser, the executive vice-president for technical development at Audi, told Auto Express the car would be “around about” the size of the current Q3. He then went on to add: “You can imagine the positioning of that car when you look at the competitors. Who is coming with out with electric cars in the SUV segment in 2020?”
The new e-tron crossover is therefore likely to be in direct competition with the upcoming all-electric version of the new Volvo XC40, and the slightly bigger BMW iX3 may also be in the Audi’s sights.
What’s not clear at the moment is how Audi intends to differentiate its EVs, plug-in hybrids and mild-hybrid models in terms of nomenclature. A model such as the diesel-electric plug-in Q7 e-tron might have to drop its existing badging in favor of some sort of new model code, but although Glaser admits something has to be done, he didn’t make any suggestion as to what that will be. – AFP Relaxnews