Report: Audi is Working on Answer to Tesla’s Model X

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Audi’s (VLKAY.PK) e-tron electric vehicle and hybrid program has been on and off the books for the last couple of years, but for 2017, it appears that it’s on for now. But rather than gun for the lower end of the luxury EV market like BMW has done, the company aimed directly at Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and the Model X that is scheduled to begin production later this year.

In addition to whispers about the future of Audi’s e-tron initiative, there has also been talk of a conceptual Q8 model, an SUV that would find itself slotted above Audi’s current, range-leading Q7. In a convergence of the two, Autocar is reporting that the Q8 — should it materialize — would be electric, and possess a range of about 370 miles, a game-changing figure by today’s standards.

The move would be a direct assault on Tesla’s electric utility vehicle, but it’s a probably a wise decision on Audi’s part. Automakers from BMW to Kia have been occupying themselves with making small, compact electric cars with limited range and capability. Tesla’s Model S took EV engineering to a whole new level, but as a sedan, it still doesn’t offer the degree of functionality that SUV and crossover drivers are accustomed to. Enter the Model X, and enter — theoretically — the Audi Q8.

In its R8 e-tron project, Audi paired twin electric motors with 376 combined horsepower with a range of about 250 miles. Should it see production, it would undoubtably be gratuitously expensive, and if Audi is serious about its electric vehicle platform, it would make more sense to see it in a more pedestrian car. But at least we know that the company has the know-how.

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