Audi has announced it will build a full-electric SUV to take on Tesla’s Model X crossover, but the company claims plug-in hybrids will be its preferred electric car dabble.

AUDI HAS TOLD automotive industry journal, Automotive News (subscription required) that it will build a full-electric SUV with a range of almost 500km to take on the Tesla Model X. However, Audi boss Rupert Stadler has told Automotive News the company is cautious about committing to full-electric models.

For the next 10 to 15 years plug-in hybrids will be the preferred choice for customers looking for a vehicle with some form of electrification, he said. While many car companiess have produced a plug-in hybrid, only Mitsubishi seems to have been able to market a real-world plug-in hybrid that demands no compromise on behalf of the owner, the Outlander PHEV.

Plug-in hybrids are the right answer to balance urban journeys under electric power with an internal combustion engine for longer trips, Stadler told Automotive News.

Thanks to improvements in battery technology and countries developing fast-charging networks, Audi is confident its SUV will be a success. The interview with Automotive News was given at the Shanghai Motor Show last week and with China committing to a network of fast-charging stations by 2020 (it plans to have a station every 40-odd kilometres) it’s likely China will be the key market for Audi’s electric SUV.  Indeed, Audi says its SUV will be able to derive an 80% charge in just 20 minutes from a fast charger.

Audi suggests the new model will get a bespoke design it’s developing just for its EVs and plug-in hybrid models, and that it’s likely to be based on the next-generation Q5.


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