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Audi Readying All-Electric, 300-Mile e-tron SUV

Battery-ute could be dubbed the Q6, hints German luxury maker.

by on Mar.10, 2015

Audi offers a tease of what may be called the Q6 e-tron, a 300+ mile range battery SUV..

Barely a week after confirming plans to launch the all-electric R8 e-tron sports car at the Geneva Motor Show, CEO Rupert Stadler reveals the luxury carmaker is working on another pure electric model, this one a new SUV that could be designated the Q6.

A teaser image of the electric SUV was presented Tuesday during a corporate briefing in which Audi officials announced they had “delivered more…than promised,” handily setting a new sales record last year. And Stadler made it clear that with the wealth of new products Audi has coming, it expects to set new records.

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During a briefing, he said Audi will add a new Q1 model at the bottom of its SUV spectrum, with a “sporty Q derivative,” the Q8 set to top the line-up. But perhaps the biggest surprise was the announcement that Audi would add a pure battery-electric sport-utility vehicle early in 2018.


Audi to Introduce Video Mirror in R8 e-tron

What to do when you have no back window.

by on Aug.10, 2012

Audi will switch to a video rearview mirror in the upcoming R8 etron battery supercar.

Audi was facing a big problem as it finishes development of the new R8 e-tron.  The battery-electric version of its 2-seat supercar has no back window – which makes it a little useless to offer a rearview mirror, at least a conventional one.

Instead, the maker is dipping into its motorsports tool kit to come up with the same digital “mirror” used on its R18 endurance racer, the same vehicle that recently won LeMans.  An advanced, 7.7-inch organic LED screen will effectively recreate the image of a traditional rearview mirror – while adding in a few neat, high-tech tricks, such as the ability to block the glare from headlights.

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Rear-mounted cameras have become commonplace in today’s cars, helping motorists safely back out of parking places.  But the Audi system won’t simply move the image from the center stack-mounted navi screen to the mirror. The R8 e-tron will provide a much more detailed and more accurate image than available from current backup cameras.


Audi Unveils A6 e-tron Plug-In Hybrid

Study could lead to production model – for China.

by on Apr.25, 2012

Audi uses a stretched wheelbase A6 platform for the e-tron concept.

Audi’s late-to-the-party commitment to battery power is getting charged up fast.  The maker has already announced several upcoming products using its advanced electric drive technology – collectively dubbed e-tron – including a plug-in hybrid version of the 2-seat Audi R8.

Now, the German luxury brand is shifting focus to a more mainstream model, a plug-in version of the A6 sedan on display this week at the Beijing Motor Show – and, Audi hints, possibly in line for the jump from concept to customer.

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The prototype A6 e-tron features a turbocharged 211-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s paired with a 95-horsepower electric motor that gets its juice from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack.  While Audi isn’t saying how big that is, we’re estimating it’s somewhere between 16 and 20 kilowatt-hours, enough to get a maximum 50 miles in electric mode.  And for longer drives, that gas engine then kicks in to keep the A6 e-tron concept going indefinitely.


Audi Unveils New A3 Wagon – But US Version Still Under Wraps

Sedan, not wagon, for America, but US will share etron plug-in.

by on Mar.07, 2012

The new Audi A3 wagon got its debut in Geneva, but it'll be a while before we see the U.S. sedan.

It required an act of aggression to get anywhere near the new Audi A3 during the opening day of the Geneva Motor Show, considering the size of the crowds at the luxury maker’s stands.  But an intrepid effort uncovered a new model significantly updated from the compact luxury car currently in Audi showrooms.

The basic look of the new wagon on display at the PALExpo Convention Center is familiar, with the new Audi A3 sized, overall, about the same as before – though it features a longer wheelbase and more interior space.  But the new car has a more refined and elegant feel, no longer looking like the cheap, throwaway member of the family.

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But Americans shouldn’t get too comfortable with the wagon on display.  It likely won’t come to the States, a senior Audi official telling that the Volkswagen Group brand has developed an entirely different model for the U.S. that won’t reach showrooms until late in 2013.

“We decided not to take it,” considering wagons simply don’t connect with U.S. buyers, noted Johan de Nysschen, CEO of Audi of America.  Instead, the model coming to the States is a new sedan that “doesn’t share a single body panel with this car.”


Audi Will Offer e-tron Option on New A3

First plug-in will debut in 2014; other models to follow.

by on Mar.02, 2012

The Audi A3 will offer an e-tron plug-in hybrid option starting in 2014.

Even as the automaker prepares to launch its first U.S. fleet-test of a plug-in hybrid, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is confirming expansive new plans for a range of battery-based vehicles from some of its smallest to its sportiest offerings.

That electric assault will begin in 2014, Stadler announced at Audi’s annual news conference, when it begins offering a plug-in “e-tron” option for the new A3 subcompact.  The battery-based A3 will begin field testing in four U.S. markets this month, as reported earlier this week. (Click Here for more on the fleet test.)

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Among other models that will get plug-in and other advanced hybrid options are the

Meanwhile, the maker will tap into its Le Mans racing program, where it has long dominated with its Quattro all-wheel-drive and diesel technologies, and where it has introduced a new flywheel-based hybrid system on the R18 race car.  That technology – which stores energy in a fast-spinning wheel, rather than a battery – is expected to show up on a version of the maker’s A4, dubbed the B9, in the next several years, according to Britain’s Autocar.


First Look: Audi Urban Concept

Electric drive and 1+1 seating.

by on Aug.10, 2011

Audi's ultra-light Urban Concept will premier at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Taking its etron concept in a new direction, Audi will unveil the new Urban Concept battery car at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.  The latest in a series of innovative offerings designed to test the limits of high-mileage design, perhaps the most distinctive feature of the carbon fiber prototype is its use of a 1+1 seating arrangement.

Designed for congested urban roads, Audi says the Urban Concept “combines elements of a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept.”

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The prototype is assembled out of ultra-light carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, or CFRP, panels; light and strong, many experts believe the material will eventually replace steel if the industry can only figure out how to mass produce it and drive down costs.

The design utilizes offset seating with access through an aircraft-like sliding canopy and tailgate.


Audi Goes Solar

Making a greener battery car.

by on Dec.03, 2010

A prototype Audi eTron draws power from a solar-based charger, a system that will be used extensively at the assembly plant in Ingollstadt.

They’re called “zero-emission vehicles,” but skeptics often question just how environmentally-friendly battery cars are, citing the fact that, at least in the U.S., a large share of our electric power comes from coal.

Audi aims to modify skeptics, as it begins ramping up for the eventual production of its eTron battery-electric vehicles, by covering the roof of its Ingollstadt assembly plant with solar panels.  Eventually, that power will help give a truly emission-free first charge as eTrons begin rolling off the line.

By the end of the year, Audi says it should have more than 80,000 square feet of photovoltaic cells in place, with the eventual goal of expanding to 205,000 square feet.  Considering the steady improvement in the efficiency of photo cell technology, the latest addition alone is anticipated to provide about 460 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough current to power 180 homes.  All told, Audi expects to produce about 1,500 MWh from its various solar installations.

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“This concept shows that Audi is tackling the topic of electromobility systematically,” said Plant Manager Peter Kössler. The photovoltaic installation uses innovative thin-layer modules that satisfy the most stringent environmental protection, efficiency and flexibility standards. “We aim to set the standards in every area,” added Kössler.


Ford’s Mulally Becomes High-Tech Guru…?

From aero to auto to high-tech.

by on Oct.08, 2010

Ford CEO Alan Mulally speaks in Paris. He'll soon handle keynote duties at the CES show.

If Alan Mulally decides he’s had enough of the auto industry he could find a new career in high-tech.

The former Boeing chief, now Ford Motor Co. CEO, has been tapped for the third year in a row to serve as keynote speaker at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held in Las Vegas, next January.

That makes Mulally one of the few speakers ever to three-peat at the event, a short list that until now only included Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

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Mulally will be joined, at CES, by Rupert Stadler, the CEO of Germany’s Audi AG, which recently emphasized its push into electric and electronic technologies with the eTron Spyder concept vehicle, which debuted at this month’s Paris Motor Show.

“This will be the most auto-centric show yet,” said CES President Gary Shapiro.  The annual event is the largest convention held in Las Vegas and typically attracts more than 100,000 visitors.


Audi eTron Spyder Opts For Through-The-Road AWD Hybrid Drive

Convertible version tests out alternate approach to battery supercar.

by on Sep.30, 2010

The Audi eTron Spyder with CEO Rupert Stadler.

It’s been barely a year since we first got look at the innovative Audi eTron, one of the first in a wave of new battery-powered supercar concepts that have been charging out on the auto show circuit.

But the big difference between the original Audi eTron and the eTron Spyder debuting at the 2010 Paris Motor Show really isn’t the lack of a roof, it turns out.  The latest take on this battery sports car concept introduces an alternative way to power its wheels.

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Where the original eTron relied purely on lithium-ion batteries, much like a Nissan Leaf on major league steroids, the eTron Spyder opts for a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and one that adopts a novel through-the-road approach to all-wheel-drive.