Audi may be looking to get seriously competitive in the electric vehicle market, according to a report from Reuters. The company has plans prepared for a range of EVs that would compete with the likes of BMW and Tesla. In a market where innovation is seen as valuable, getting on board with electrification could help Audi avoid appearing out of step with the rest of the crowd (and the market), with analysts predicting a sharp uptick in battery-powered cars in the next several years.
Building on the E-Tron line, which already includes the A3 E-Tron, Audi will begin offering an electric version of its R8 supercar in Europe next year. According to two confidential sources at Audi, the company also has plans for high-performance electric sedans and SUVs. It appears as though Audi is taking direct aim at Tesla with alternatives to the current Model S and the upcoming Model X SUV.
Without getting into too many specifics about such plans, the sources did confirm the existence of blueprints for an Audi Q8 E-Tron. Audi has said that any future electric cars would have a target range of 400 kilometers (about 249 miles), but previous reports suggest that the Q8 E-Tron could have a range of about 370 miles. That could be a serious challenge for Tesla. Advantage: Audi?
All the German automakers have electric tricks up their sleeves. BMW has its i line, with the i3 making headway and the i8 expected to sell well. Mercedes-Benz has gotten into the game the B-Class Electric Drive. Also, its parent company Daimler has a stake in Tesla. Now, Audi appears poised to launch its own diverse electric fleet, and the next move might just be an SUV. And while this added competition might seem like tough news for Tesla, the proliferation of EVs, and the growing infrastructure that goes along with it, is more likely a tide that raises all (electric) ships - something that Elon Musk seems to understand very well.