Audi’s plan to beef up its lineup with all-electric models will be thrown into the spotlight when the German automaker launches the A9 e-tron luxury sedan. No specific timetable has been set for when the A9 e-tron arrives, but all signs point to 2020 as the year it hits the market. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler made the proclamation to , touting the A9 e-tron as the company’s new flagship model for its new range of EV.
The arrival of the A9 e-tron positions Audi as a legitimate competitor in the luxury EV sedan market that’s currently occupied by the likes of the Tesla Model S. That wasn’t the case in the past as the A9 was initially being developed as a conventionally powered four-door coupe that would rival the Bentley Continental GT and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. But with the growing popularity of electric vehicles, coupled with Audi’s own plans to ramp up its EV lineup, the shift was made to make the A9 all-electric.
Details about the A9 e-tron are still scarce, but the same report indicates that it will carry a “unique styling” that would be fit for its segment. The luxury EV sedan will also share much of its technology with the Q6 e-tron SUV and that the A9’s electric motors would be capable of a full range of 311 miles between recharging.
The model will also have a more advanced version of Audi’s autonomous driving technology compared to what will be used in the next-generation Audi A8 that’s scheduled to hit the market in 2017. Audi’s head of electric development Ricky Hudi described the more advanced autonomous driving tech – level four in the company’s lingo – as being a “big leap” from the “level three automation” that the A8 will be using, including the ability to drive itself outside of highways.
Why it matters
There are a lot of details to sift through here because the Audi appears to be trying to get the A9 e-tron off the ground in a hurry. Apart from all the details that have already been shared, it is believed that the A9 e-tron will will feature the same EV platform that was showcased by the e-tron quattro concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. That would entail using a predominantly aluminum structure. The A9 e-tron is also slated to receive a liquid-cooled 95 kWh battery that will be bolted to the floor and located just below the passenger compartment and a single-ratio gearbox that offers two driving modes: Drive and Sport. Future owners of the luxury EV sedan will also be offered an 11-watt inductive charging option and an autonomous parking option that can autonomously park the car over a charging plate.
All these details point to a car that’s going to be overflowing with technology. The interesting question is how can Audi put all these things together on a single car. The German automaker has shown its ability to be able to handle such a challenge and with the pending arrival of the A9 e-tron, you can be sure that Audi will throw its collective might into making the luxury EV sedan a popular choice in its market. The competitive nature of the segment demands it.