FRANKFURT—In the race to lure luxury customers into electric vehicles, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is making his ambitions clear.
As Silicon Valley automaker Tesla Motors preps the release of its third luxury electric vehicle this month and Porsche weighs a battery-powered concept called Mission E, Audi is readying its own offering: the e-tron quattro.
It’s a concept, but possibly a realistic vision of where Audi is headed. The company confirmed at Frankfurt Motor Show here that it will release a luxury electric crossover in early 2018.
At 16 feet long, 6.3 feet wide and 5.1 feet high, the four-seat e-tron quattro boasts what Audi described as a “coupe-like silhouette.” It’s longer than Audi’s Q5 crossover and shorter than its Q7.
It has three electric motors, with one in the front and two in the back. Audi said it’s drawing on the engineering expertise it’s gleaned from the R8 e-tron sports car.
The e-tron quattro’s introduction marks the latest sign that the luxury industry is taking Tesla seriously. The California company plans to release the Model X crossover later this month.
Stadler said his goal for the quattro is to “lead the industry in connectivity and energy efficiency.”
Asked how he would do that, he simply turned to his side and motioned to the e-tron quattro, as if to say it spoke for itself.
Audi said the e-tron quattro concept reflects “a concrete foretaste” of the company’s production-model electric crossover.
With a 95 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the vehicle can travel 310.7 miles on a battery charge and can go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds. A full charges takes about 50 minutes. It can also be wirelessly charged, though that would take longer. A solar roof adds electrical input on sunny days.
Porsche on Monday introduced the Mission E luxury electric car, which can go 310 miles on a single charge and be recharged up to 80% capacity in 15 minutes. It can hit 62.1 mph in less than 3.5 seconds.
Porsche is expected to deliver a production model within five years.
USA TODAY’s Kim Hjelmgaard reported from Frankfurt. USA TODAY’s Nathan Bomey reported from McLean, Va.
Follow Hjelmgaard on Twitter @khjelmgaard. Follow Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.