Audi, which has been dabbling with electric car technology for a few years has now indicated it is ready to challenge Tesla at its own game.
Audi’s e-tron concept is confirmed for production – and the manufacturer has unveiled a 512kW ‘RS’ version.
Audi has confirmed it is preparing to go after the hi-so electric-SUV market within three years with its first mass-produced full-electric vehicle.
The Q6 is a four-seat, coupe-style crossover e-tron wagon which will be shown in concept form at the current Frankfurt motor show.
The Q6 e-tron is billed as a close-to-production concept that accurately previews a new crossover aimed squarely at the Tesla Model X. The German car maker has confirmed the Q6 will usher in the design language that will influence all of its upcoming EVs over the next few years. The images published by Auto, Motor, Und Sport don’t show the Q6’s front end, but from the side it appears to borrow more than a few styling cues from recent additions to the Audi lineup like the Q7 and the A4.
Audi Q6 e-tron.
The concept’s rakish D-pillar gives it a slightly less utilitarian look than the Q5, but it’s still nowhere near as sporty – and aggressive-looking – as the BMW X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. It will be built largely out of aluminum in a bid to partially offset the weight added by the bulky battery pack.
Power for the Q6 e-tron will come from an all-electric drivetrain built using components common to the R8 e-tron. Although full details are still being kept under wraps, sources close to Audi have revealed the electric motors will be good for up to 512 kW.
The Q6 will offer a maximum driving range of about 500 kays it is claimed, meaning it will be able to drive further on a single charge than the Model X, at least on paper. Recharging will be through the inductive charging technology, dispensing with cables.
The vehicle reportedly will come in two states of tune: a standard e-tron for everyday driving and a high-performance RS version, called R-tron, with an estimated 512 kW of power in short bursts – not far short of American electric sportscar specialist Tesla’s most powerful model, the Model S P85D that has two motors with combined power of 568 kW.
Audi is calling the vehicle e-tron quattro, meaning it has a form of all-wheel drive that, rather than the traditional driveshaft and differential arrangement, has electric motors on the front and rear axles driving all wheels in what Audi calls ‘electrified quattro’.
This is through having one motor at the front and two at the back in a powertrain drawing on technology pioneered in the rear-wheel-drive Audi R8 e-tron sport scar.
One of their other future cars, the R8, will have only a limited production, while the Q6 e-tron is supposedly scheduled for mass production.
With e-tron, Audi is claiming a world record in aerodynamics for an SUV, with a drag coefficient of 0.25 Cd, thanks to moveable elements at the front and sides, as well as a completely closed underbody.
The moveable elements apparently include an air suspension that lowers the body closer to the road above 80 km/h. At the same time, a rear spoiler and diffuser are deployed, such as the Porsche design for some years.
The German publication Auto Bild says the Korean-supplied lithium-ion battery pack with an energy content of between 90 and 95 kWh will be located between the axles in a drawer arrangement for easy access.
Remembering that this car is an SUV, Audi is claiming a sub-4.0 second 0-100 km/h time and a driving range of “significantly more than 500 km on a single charge”. (That is supercar performance, but is it really necessary in a shopping trolley?)
The R8 e-tron that was shown at the Geneva motor show has 340 kW of power and 920 Nm of torque from its two rear-axle motors, pushing the two-door coupe from zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds.
The battery pack of the Q6 SUV concept is expected to weigh about 650 kg, and while the low center of gravity will aid handling, the overall weight of the e-tron will be pushed to almost 2.5 tonnes. The pack will be cooled by air channeled through vents.
Images of the e-tron’s interior show space-age controls based on organic-LED (OLED) screens that apparently delivers 3D images. These represent Audi’s latest take on a modern interior, following similar layouts shown in the company’s Prologue series of concept cars.
It is currently not known where the Q6 will be built, but indications are that it might be built alongside the Q5 at the new Mexican plant.