The details are still emerging, but Audi’s CEO has confirmed to British media that a Tesla-fighting Audi flagship is expected to go on sale by the year 2020.
Rupert Stadler revealed to the UK’s Autocar that three electric vehicles will be offered by 2020, including a production version of the e-tron quattro SUV concept, and a large sedan that will fit into the range “as high up as possible, in the A8 segment.”
The electric flagship will be built atop the Volkswagen group’s premium electric platform, that same chassis that will underpin the Audi e-tron quattro and Porsche’s production version of the Mission E.
Expected to arrive under the A9 e-tron name, the new vehicle will advance some of the technical highlights of next year’s all-new A8 range, including additional autonomous driving capabilities beyond the self-driving suite being prepared for the new A8.
Powertrain technology is likely to be shared with the e-tron quattro, which may adopt the Q6 name as it progresses to production, meaning a three-motor electric system, with one front motor and two rear motors.
Driving range is targeted at around 500km on a single charge, with power outputs of between 320kW and 370kW mooted.
Stadler also said that Audi’s forthcoming electric vehicle will offer "a unique driving experience" compared to competitors, with differences in torque vectoring and all-wheel-drive systems.
He also mentioned that the 2018 Audi's e-tron program would utilise asynchronous motors for better efficiency, as opposed to the synchronous motor systems currently in use in other vehicles.
Wireless inductive charging will also be offered on the A9 e-tron, as will ‘level 4’ autonomous driving, which required no driver intervention, and can potentially venture off freeways to tackle a broader range of driving situations by itself.
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