In motoring circles, secrets rarely stay secrets for long. Early this year, rumours began emanating from German sources of a major all-electric project in the offing from Audi. We can now confirm that this rumoured SUV program is indeed in motion with Audi’s official announcement that it will debut an all-electric concept named the e-tron quattro at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Pitched as a direct rival to the Tesla Model X luxury crossover, the e-tron quattro concept represents the German manufacture’s first step towards launching a production-ready all-electric SUV in 2018.
Although yet to be rubber-stamped, there is a more than fair chance that the e-tron quattro concept’s eventual successor will become the Audi Q6. Further evidence for this supposition lies in the fact that the Frankfurt-bound concept’s dimensions place it slap-bang in the middle of the current Audi Q5 and Q7 SUVs.
We can gauge from the official sketches seen here that the e-tron quattro concept sports a coupé-esc design typical of today’s crossover SUVs, including its chief adversary the Model X. The four-seater concept’s body features a selection of movable aerodynamic elements, allowing it to cut through the air with minimum disturbance. In fact, Audi claims that the ultra-low drag e-tron quattro sets new records for aerodynamic efficiency in the SUV segment, contributing considerably to its mightily impressive 310 mile range. If accurate, that’s significantly more on-road action on one charge than the Model X can muster. Tesla, take note.
This is of course the second major announcement from Audi’s all-electric division this year, following the unveiling of the R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Armed with the expertise gained during the course of the electric-powered supercar’s development, Audi designers have equipped the e-tron quattro concept with three electric motors mounted on both front and rear axles. This, in essence, creates an electrical 4WD system that will likely form the basis of the full production model’s drivetrain when it premieres in 2018.