The e-tron name will stand for a 'pure electric driveline structure' set to feature first in an EV SUV, but also a hatchback and saloon models
The Audi e-tron name has been confirmed for the compay's first dedicated series production electric car by boss Rupert Stadler.
The e-tron name will be carried without any specific model designation in a move evoking the naming of its original quattro launched back in 1980.
Previewed by the e-tron quattro concept at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show (pictured above), the new battery propelled SUV is among three pure electric models planned to be introduced by Audi through the end of 2020, including a smaller hatchback and large saloon (both below).
Commenting on the decision to provide the production of version of the e-tron quattro with the e-tron name without any link to an existing model line or newly established sub-brand like that chosen by competitors BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Stadler said: “It is comparable to the first Audi quattro, which was known simply as the quattro. In the long term the name e-tron will stand for a pure electric driveline structure.”
As with the quattro name, however, Stadler confirms the e-tron name will subsequently appear on in combination with Audi’s more traditional model nomenclatures. “We will have models with the usual names, for example A6 e-tron, A7 e-tron, A8 e-tron and so on.”
The Audi boss has also provided the first official hint that Audi is working on an up-market electric powered saloon to challenge theTesla Model S, as exclusively reported by Autocar. “I do believe that it makes sense for the Audi brand to be positioned in the top premium segment with this driveline technology.”
However, Stadler quashed suggestions the planned electric saloon model may replace the company’s long planned A9. Instead, it is expected to form part of the three initial electric models already under development at Audi’s Ingolstadt headquarters, possible to take the name A8 e-tron.
Asked whether the third Audi electric car due out before the end of 2020 could be a compact MPV style offering in the mould of aborted successor to the original A2, Stadler revealed his enthusiasm for an SUV with what he describes as a “space concept vehicle” twist.
“We are presently experiencing an upward swing in the demand for such electric concepts, primarily in large megacities. They would be well suited with ranges of between 350 to 450 km. The subject of space is an important one. That means we’ll see compact electric cars, but with vastly improved interior design. Customers want ease of entry, a command seating position and the feeling of safety.”
Intimating such a model could be based around the MEB platform structure unveiled by parent company Volkswagen underneath its ID concept at the recent Paris motor show, Stadler said: “We will engage with this intelligent concept in the middle term.”
Despite Audi’s long held tradition of front- and four-wheel drive models, Stadler does not see the rear-wheel drive concept of the ID as a hindrance to the development of future electric powered model for the company. “A pure BEV (battery electric vehicle) requires different solutions to conventional models.”