Audi A9 e-tron EV Approved for Production: Report
Will borrow tech from Audi's all-electric SUV
Audi has already confirmed the production of a new all-electric SUV, and now it appears the automaker has greenlit another all-electric model.
Autocar reports that Audi boss Rubert Stadler has approved an EV sedan slated to arrive by 2020 that will target the Tesla Model S. Stadler said the new model will sit "as high up as possible, in the A8 segment" that includes competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The report also suggests the EV sedan will be called Audi A9 e-tron.
The report speculates the A9 e-tron will share technology with Audi's upcoming all-electric SUV, expected to arrive in 2018 under the Q6 nameplate. That means the A9 e-tron could feature three electric motors and a battery pack providing at least 300 miles of range. Styling for the Q6 e-tron should mimic the E-tron Quattro concept that debuted at last year's Frankfurt motor show.
The A9 e-tron is also slated to receive a new generation of Audi's autonomous driving capabilities, dubbed "level four technology." According to the report, level-four autonomous technology will allow the vehicle to drive itself in situations other than just the highway, which likely means more capability in urban situations. The next-generation A8 arrives next year with level-three autonomous driving technology that's limited to speeds of up to 37 mph.
In addition to the Q6 e-tron, the A9 e-tron will be the second of three EV Audi plans to add to its lineup by 2020. The automaker hasn't announced the third model, though it predicts that by 2025, 25 percent of its lineup will be dedicated EVs. By that same year, Volkswagen Group has committed to have 30 EVs across its brands.
Next-generation Audi A8 prototype pictured above