Audi confirms it will challenge Tesla with electric SUV

Audi is moving full speed ahead with the electrification of its lineup. After introducing the all-electric R8 e-tron and the diesel-electric Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid (pictured) earlier this week in Geneva, the automaker has confirmed that it is busily developing a battery-powered SUV that will be positioned as a more premium alternative to the upcoming Tesla Model X.

The yet-unnamed EV will share its MLB platform with the aforementioned Q7 and a number of other Volkswagen Group products including the next Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming fourth-generation A8. Unlike the R8 e-tron, the EV will be positioned as a standalone model that will feature a design of its own inside and out.

Audi engineers will apply knowledge gleaned from the R8 e-tron project to the SUV. Technical details are still few and far between but Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s Board Member for Technical Development, revealed to British magazine Auto Express that the EV will boast a total driving range of well over 300 miles thanks to recent advances in battery technology.

If Audi can keep its ambitious promise, the SUV will be able to go further on a single charge than even the most capable Tesla Model S on the road today. Simply put, it could offer the longest range of any regular-production EV. It goes without saying that a technologically-advanced electric SUV with an Audi badge on the hood won’t come cheap, and Hackenberg admitted that the EV will be a premium model aimed at “families that have some money.”

The executive hinted that the family-friendly EV is scheduled to debut “soon” but he declined to provide a more specific timeframe. However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the model bow next September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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