Audi’s first dedicated series of electric cars will be called E-Tron and is slated for release in 2018.
“It is comparable to the first Audi Quattro, which was known simply as the Quattro. In the long term the name E-Tron will stand for a pure electric driveline structure.” Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler told Autocar on Monday.
The concept was first showcased at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show where the company announced that it aims to launch 3 electric vehicles by 2020 — an SUV, a hatchback and a large saloon.
Stadler further added that E-Tron will be combined with traditional Audi nomenclature. “We will have models with the usual names, for example A6 E-Tron, A7 E-Tron, A8 E-Tron and so on.”, he said.
Audi will compete with companies such as Tesla, BMW and Mercedes in the electric car market. The company's first attempt at designing an electronic vehicle — its $100,000 R8 E-Tron supercar — failed miserably, with less than 100 being manufactured. The company currently uses the E-Tron name for its A3 E-Tron plug-in hybrid.
Audi might use parent company Volkswagen Group’s Modularer Elektrobaukasten (MEB) — a scalable platform designed from the start to work with electric vehicles — for the E-Tron.
Interesting features of the A6 E-Tron SUV, the first in the series launching in 2018, include wireless charging support and solar energy generation. E-Tron can be charged at upto 11KV via inductive means and a piloted parking feature, which would automatically park it over a charging plate embedded in the ground. Solar cells placed on the roof can produce sufficient energy to provide an added 622 miles per year.