Audi unveils first all-electric SUV concept car
Audi has unveiled concept designs for its first all-electric SUV, with a full reveal expected at the International Motor Show 2015 in Frankfurt next month.
The concept car - the Audi e-tron Quattro - would have a battery range of more than 310 miles.
Audi says the E-tron Quattro would come somewhere between Audi’s current Q5 and Q7 models in terms of size, and a production model for the SUV could be expected from 2018.
The German carmaker said the electric model was constructed using Audi’s experience of its electric Audi R8 e-tron sports car, which entered a highly limited, on-demand production run this year.
Audi’s launch of its all-electric SUV brings competition to electric car maker Tesla, which earlier this month confirmed it would begin shipping its long-awaited Model X electric SUV in September.
The electric SUVs are tailored for the US market, where sales of ‘sports utility vehicles’ are high. Tesla’s launch of its own model X will give it at least a two-year head start on Audi to grow in the US market.
In a letter to shareholders in early August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said a small number of Model X cars could be delivered in the third quarter of 2015, with targeted sales of Tesla’s Model S coupe and Model X of 55,000.
Tesla's sales compare to Audi’s total global sales of more than 1.74 million in 2014, with the carmaker’s luxury models popular in the Chinese market.
Audi’s move into the electric car market comes after a UK Government study revealed electric cars were fast becoming the main vehicle for households which own them. According to the Government survey, 82% of people who owned an electric car used it as their main vehicle.
The Government is also planning new areas of green infrastructure development to spur the uptake of electric cars. In February, the Department for Transport Announced a £43m commitment to install charging points at a number of hospitals, train stations and A-roads around the country.