Audi already has blueprints of a range of high-performance electric saloons and SUVs aimed at challenging its German rivals as well as Tesla Motors, sources privy with company told Reuters. While people have been averse to EVs due to their high prices, limited driving range and lack of charging infrastructures, many analysts still expects sales to significantly surge by 2020.
Thanks to innovative technology that allowed longer travel distances and lower costs, Tesla has been leading all EV makers. With people taking about Tesla as well as BMW's new "i" electric series, Audi can’t ignore the potential of EVs.
Further disregard of the EV sector could make Audi seem like a laggard in the auto industry where innovation is one of its major appeals. Audi will soon launch its first pure electric car, the R8 e-tron, which is a version of the R8 supercar bound to arrive in Europe in 2015.
Audi R8 e-tron could travel up to 280 miles (450 km) in a single charge -- nearly matching the 311-mile range (500 km) of the Tesla Model S. Audi will only build R8 e-trons as per demand.
The sources, however, did not say how many models were at sight for Audi as well as the scale of any production plans. The sources though told Reuters that one of the drawn blueprints is for an electric version of a new Q8 SUV, which should be targeted against the upcoming Tesla Model X crossover.
The sources said that any new EV at Audi would at least have a range of about 250 miles. Audi's EVs plans will be boosted a current plan to upgrade the MLB architecture already underpins larger models across the VW group like the Audi A8 saloon and Porsche Cayenne SUV.
The platform is seen to be able to cut costs for electric cars. NordLB analyst Frank Schwope told Reuters that major German carmakers have their “electric-car plans ready in the drawer," saying that they want to be prepared when demand for EVs accelerates, which could take five to seven more years.