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Audi’s R8 e-tron to lead charge into the EV market, boasts 280-mile range

As companies like Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz continue to invest in all-electric vehicles (EVs), German carmaker Audi knows that lagging behind could prove to be a fatal mistake.

BMW delivered its first i3 electric vehicles to customers seven months ago, and according to Reuters, Audi has drawn up blueprints for a wide range of EVs: SUVs, sedans, and high-performance vehicles. 

Audi’s first EV, the R8 e-tron, is slated for a 2015 release date in Europe (the U.S. release date has not been confirmed).

The R8 e-tron was originally slated for a 2012 debut, but it was put on hold due to concerns over its range: a meager 134 miles.

Audi seems to have fixed that problem, though, as Reuters reports that the all-electric R8 can now go 280 miles between plug ins. Tesla’s acclaimed Model S will do just over 300 miles with the largest battery pack, however, and the BMW i3, a much smaller EV, can do 118 miles on a single charge. The Mercedez-Benz B-Class? Just 85.

The current iteration of the Audi R8 may have altered performance specifications due to range modifications, but if it’s anything like the axed 2012 version, it should be quick enough to make your hair stand on end. Powered by a 48.6 kWh lithium-ion battery and two electric motors, 2012’s R8 e-tron produced 381 horsepower and a massive 605 pound-feet of torque. The electric power pushed the car to 60 mph in only 4.2 seconds, tying Tesla’s Model S and is just .3 seconds slower than the gas-powered R8 V10.

Audi will be producing the R8 strictly by demand, so don’t expect to see many of these on Audi showrooms.

Audi’s e-tron program also given birth to R18 e-tron racercar and the A3 e-tron, although those are both gas-electric hybrids. An electric Q8 SUV is rumored to be in the planning stages, however, which will compete with Tesla’s upcoming Model X.

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