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Audi to Unveil Electric SUV in Frankfurt

audi_e-tron_quattro_concept.jpg Audi e-tron quattro; | Manufacturer image

Following in the electrified footsteps of the R8 e-tron sports car and A3 Sportback e-tron, Audi is expanding its all-electric long-range luxury portfolio into the SUV market. The e-tron quattro concept is set to debut in September at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, leading a charge by Volkswagen’s luxury division to elbow in on Tesla territory.

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Audi says the e-tron quattro concept, which will slot in size between the automaker’s Q5 and Q7 SUVs, boasts a range of 310 miles; that’s about 17 percent farther than the Tesla Model S can go on a single recharge and nearly 11 percent farther than the super-expensive, rear-wheel-drive R8 e-tron. Details on Tesla’s Model X SUV’s range have not been released.

The sporty SUV concept is powered by a large lithium-ion battery pack located between the axles below the passenger area, providing a low center of gravity and balanced load for enhanced driving and safety, Audi says. Three electric motors, including one on the front axle and two on the rear, drive the vehicle.

Audi says the SUV uses movable aerodynamic elements on all sides of the vehicle to improve airflow around the car, including a completely closed-in underbody.

audi_e-tron_quattro_concept_cabin.jpg Audi e-tron quattro (interior); | Manufacturer image

The automaker describes the vehicle as having a “typical SUV body” and flat, coupelike cabin with seating for four. Artist renderings show a substantially conceptlike vehicle inside and out with a narrow greenhouse putting greater emphasis on the outsize wheels. Meanwhile, the cabin is an angular, elongated affair with a flat-bottom steering wheel and futuristic-cockpit-like orientation that will likely be toned way down before production. Speaking of which, Audi claims the concept will see mass production by 2018.

We’ll, of course, keep watching as new details emerge. The Frankfurt auto show opens Sept. 17.

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