Audi readies 2 EVs for U.S. starting in 2018

Entries to stress desire for high performance

Entries to stress desire for high performance

Audi e-tron quattro concept has a 310-mile range and up to 500 hp in peak power.

FRANKFURT — A production version of Audi’s e-tron quattro concept for a crossover electric vehicle shown here will go on sale in the U.S. in 2018, and another battery-electric vehicle will come after that, the automaker’s top U.S. executive said.

Audi of America CEO Scott Keogh confirmed the two EVs, which will mark the second phase of the brand’s vehicle electrification push, following a series of plug-in hybrid offerings. Keogh said Audi was determining the segment for the second battery-powered vehicle.

In a move similar to that of Tesla Motors, Keogh said Audi intends to market the EVs to appeal to consumers’ desire for functionality, design and high performance, rather than just efficiency or zero emissions.

“Our No. 1 thing is not to build a compliance car, but to build a cool, desirable car, because that’s what’s going to help our brand, and our customers are going to like it.”

As for battery range, Keogh said, the high 200s to about 300 miles would be “the perfect sweet spot.”

The e-tron quattro concept boasts a 310-mile range and up to 500 hp and 590 pounds-feet of torque in peak power.

Keogh said Audi of America lobbied for the production electric crossover to be the size of existing crossovers selling well in the market. Its size will be comparable to the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE class, he said.

“The final thing we wanted is appropriate and proper packaging and that’s what we feel we’re going to get with this,” Keogh said.

Audi’s electrification push is under way with a wave of plug-in hybrids joining its lineup soon.

For the U.S., the A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid goes on sale this fall. A Q7 e-tron diesel plug-in hybrid will arrive after the redesigned Q7’s U.S. sales debut early next year, Keogh said.

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