Audi will soon release an all-electric family car that will look to challenge the Tesla Model S.
The company is currently developing an all-new, all-electric vehicle that will feature a range of 280 miles. According to Ulrich Hackenberg, the technical development head at Audi, the vehicle will be released to the public in 2017.
It is unclear whether the upcoming Audi electric vehicle will be one of the company's current model ranges, such as the Audi A3 e-tron that is the electric version of the A3, or if it would usher in an entirely new model line for Audi.
"Such a car is under development," confirmed Hackenberg to automobile website Auto Express.
"I was able to reengineer the R8 e-tron project and technology with the team and we are on the way to a range of 450km (280 miles)."
The R8 e-tron project is the confirmed all-electric version of the upcoming R8 supercar, which is due to be released next year.
Hackenberg added that the vehicle will not be developed as a sports car.
The high range of 280 miles is made possible through the utilization of next-generation batteries and electric motors that feature an increased power density. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, the powertrain development chief for the Volkswagen Group, said that the new electric motors have up to five times increased efficiency compared to the motors currently being used by the group's electric vehicles such as the Volkswagen e-Golf.
Hackenberg did not reveal any further details regarding the Audi electric family vehicle. However, the expectation for the vehicle is that it will be adopting a saloon-style chassis that will allow better packaging for the vehicle's components.
In addition, such a body style that features a bigger surface area will provide ample space for the more powerful and bigger batteries to be used for the vehicle and placed underneath the flooring, as opposed to below spaces for the passengers that could affect the cabin space.
The vehicle that Audi is looking to challenge, the Tesla Model S, proved that it was the best electric vehicle when it was released. While it had its fair share of glitches, Consumer Reports named the Model S as the best-reviewed car on the year it was released.
Last month, Tesla unveiled Model D, which is an all-wheel-drive version of the Model S that also features a revamped engine that can match the top speed of a MacLaren Formula One car.