Audi has confirmed plans for a new pure electric sedan to directly rival the Tesla Model S. The new four-door model, known as the e-tron GT, will share its platform with the upcoming Porsche Mission E and is planned to go into production in 2020, according to Audi chairman Rupert Stadler.
Plans for Audi e-tron GT were announced during the German car maker’s 2018 annual accounts press conference in Ingolstadt, Germany, where Stadler confirmed it as one of three pure electric models currently being developed and planned for sale by Audi by the start of the next decade.
Stadler says the new zero-emission Audi model will line-up alongside the e-tron quattro SUV unveiled in prototype form wearing light disguise at the recent Geneva motor show as well a production version of the e-tron Sportback (pictured below) first revealed in concept car form at the 2017 Shanghai motor show.
Production of the e-tron GT is planned to take place on a dedicated electric vehicle assembly line to be established at Audi Sport’s Böllinger Höfe industrial park located nearby to Audi’s Neckarsulm plant in south-west Germany.
The Böllinger Höfe site, which went into commission in 2014, currently produces the R8 in both coupe and roadster bodystyles.
“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,” Stadler said revealing an image of the new electric powered Audi model on a video wall.
The single imagine shows a conceptual sketch of a low slung four-door coupe featuring a heavily tapered front end with slim rectangular headlamps and a long bonnet. Further back, it hints at a car with heavily structure sides, a high belt line and shallow glasshouse.
In a subsequent statement issued on Twitter, Audi Sport described the darkened image as a “sneak peek into the electrified future of Audi Sport – the first draft of the prototype Audi e-tron GT”.
Hinting it will be positioned at the very top of the Audi line-up, the Audi Sport tweet also said the Telsa Model S rival would be the “spearhead of Audi Sport by the year of 2020“.
The e-tron GT will share the so-called J1 platform of the upcoming Porsche Mission E in a move aimed at achieving suitable economies of scale among the two Volkswagen Group companies.
Although Audi has announced it is jointly developing a new electric vehicle platform with Porsche, the so-called Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture, it isn’t planned to underpin a production model until the end of 2021 – as outlined in a media statement jointly issued by Audi and Porsche in February 2018.
“The first models based on the PPE are planned for the end of 2021. Beforehand, in 2018 and 2019, the e-tron and Mission E production models will be the first electric models of the two premium brands to be launched,“ the statement read.
Confirmation from Audi Sport via its Twitter that the e-tron GT is set to see production in 2020 places it one year ahead of the first planned model to use the PPE platform.
As well as rivalling the Telsa Model S, the new Audi is also expected to see competition from a secret new pure electric Jaguar sedan being developed as a sister model to the recently unveiled I-Pace and successor the British car maker’s long running XJ sedan.
While confirming plans for the e-tron GT, Stadler also revealed Audi’s first pure electric model, the e-tron quattro SUV, will cost from €80,000, the equivalent of $A126,000, when sales officially begin in Germany later this year. This compares to the €77,850 ($A123,000) price tag Jaguar confirmed for its new I-Pace at the recent 2018 Geneva motor show. By comparison, the Telsa Model X is priced from €96,250 ($A152,000) in Germany.
The Audi chairman confirmed the e-tron quattro (pictured above) would be revealed at an event at the company’s factory in Brussels, Belgium, where it will be produced, in mid-2018.
While the e-tron GT is set to be based on the Porsche developed J1 platform, the e-tron quattro SUV uses an Audi developed electric vehicle architecture known internally as C-BEV – underpinnings that are also planned to be used by the production version of the e-tron Sportback.
Stadler said that by 2025 Audi would offer some 20 electrified models, suggesting more than half of them would be pure electric vehicles with the rest made up of both plug-in and mild hybrids.
He also confirmed Audi is looking to build on its initial three dedicated electric models with a fourth battery propelled offering in the form of a compact SUV.