Audi is going all in on electric cars.
But the German automaker, which is a subsidiary of Volkswagen, also has a third electric vehicle in the works and it could pose a direct threat to Tesla’s upcoming Model Y.
“We are looking to also introduce a smaller SUV, which is going to be fitting more into the “A” segment, so in the place where the Q3 competes today,” Filip Brabec, vice president of product management for Audi of America, told Business Insider.
“It’s a car that is based on the VW group MEB electric platform. We aren’t really ready to share North American timing because there are a few things that still have to be determined, but it’s going to be following those two cars (the e-tron quattro and the e-tron Sportback) that I just mentioned. So roughly speaking in the 2020 timeframe, but no closer introduction timing at this moment is really known,” Brabec said.
Audi plans to launch its e-tron quattro SUV in late 2018 and it’s e-tron Sportback in 2019. These vehicles will have the same powertrain and share many similarities.
But the third SUV will be smaller and built on VW’s new MEB platform, which is a modular architecture designed specifically for electric cars. Brabec didn’t share a price point for this vehicle, but he did say that it will compete in the same segment as Audi’s Q3 crossover, which begins pricing at about $US31,000.
Tesla also plans to launch its Model Y, a compact SUV, within the same timeframe and it’s speculated it will price in a similar range. Other automakers, including Volvo and Ford, also plan to bring smaller SUVs to market by 2020.
But Brabec said he’s not worried about the growing competition. In fact, he said more companies getting into the space could actually be good for business.
“What it tends to create is its own segment. So the more players there are, I think, it’s going to create some natural energy because of the different launches that could potentially strengthen that business for all of us,” he said.
Audi has promised to invest big in electric vehicles in the wake of the VW Dieselgate scandal.
Audi’s chief executive Rupert Stadler has previously said the company will have all three electric vehicles in its lineup by 2020, and by 2025, it aims for 25% of the cars it sells to have batteries.
But the company isn’t just bringing all-electric cars to market. Audi also plans to deliver new hybrids.
“We are looking at a couple more plugin-in hybrid applications for our market, as well. None that we are prepared to discuss at this point,” Brabec said.
“We are not completely done with the hybrid era and we might see a couple more models in the plug-in arena.”
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