Utilizing battery cells from LG Chem as well as Samsung SDI, Audi has announced that it is planning to produce a fully electric SUV with 311 miles (500 kilometers) of range. If that wasn’t enough to get you sitting up much straighter in your chair, Audi says that it will actually be putting the battery modules together itself.
I think this clearly puts Audi (and mother company Volkswagen) up there with just a few other automakers for its seriousness when it comes to electrification. Aside from Tesla, only General Motors (GM) has announced a long-range all-electric model, the Chevy Bolt. Nissan has made it clear that it is soon going to announce one as well, though. Volkswagen hinted at it a couple of times, but it has been the most vague of the few automakers mixing the terms or concepts “long-range” and “all-electric.”
Considering that it will be an SUV and will have 311 miles of range, far more than the 200 miles that other “long-range” electric vehicles are targeting (i.e., the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and a long-range Nissan), I’m guessing Audi is going to price this in the premium category. Presumably, it won’t go so high as to “compete” with the Model X — who can compete with the falcon-wing doors, “spectacular” second-row seats, and Tesla performance? So, my guess is that it will either be priced a bit lower… or will simply sit on the lower end of the sales tables.
While this is big news, it’s also vague news. Audi hasn’t provided a date for launch of this vehicle, and previous announcement have noted it would be sometime in 2018, three years from now. Nonetheless, it is still a bit exciting to see Audi stating that it will be the one putting together its battery modules, and officially announcing an impressive 311 miles of range (of course, what it actually pinpointed was the very round number of 500 kilometers).
“Together with our South Korean development partners, we are bringing production of the latest battery‑cell technology to the EU and strengthening European industry with this key technology,” stated Dr. Bernd Martens, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Procurement. The cell modules are to offer particularly high performance. “This will allow us to supply a technological solution that makes electric cars even more attractive for our customers.”
“With our first battery‑electric Audi‑SUV, we are combining an emission‑free drive system with driving pleasure,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Development. “We will optimally integrate the innovative cell modules developed with LG Chem and Samsung SDI into our vehicle architecture, thus achieving an attractive overall package of sportiness and range.”
Great news? I’m counting it as such.