2016 Audi A3 e-tron4

More Details Leak on Upcoming 2018 Audi Q6 e-Tron Electric Car Ahead of Frankfurt Debut

For the past six months or so we’ve known that Volkswagen’s performance arm Audi has plans to bring an all-electric SUV to market some time in 2018. Called the Audi Q6 e-tron, it is expected to cross-shop against the Tesla Model X crossover SUV with an all-electric range of 310 miles per charge on the NEDC test cycle.

Until these new renderings, this was all we had of Audi's upcoming Q6 SUV.

Until these new renderings, this was all we’d seen  of Audi’s upcoming Q6 SUV.

As we explained last month, the first glimpse we’ll get of this important vehicle will happen later this year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, when Audi will preview a concept car known internally at Audi as the C-BEV.

While we’ve known some basics about the vehicle we’ll see in September, including the fact that it will be offered in all-electric, plug-in hybrid and possibly hydrogen fuel cell variants, Audi has kept details about its Tesla-beater close to its chest. But earlier this week, German car site Auto Motor und Sport (via Autocar) published what it claimed were the first real renderings of the concept car we’ll see for the first time in a few weeks.

The renderings obtained by the german publication show the C-BEV is a sporty SUV Coupe

The renderings obtained by the german publication show the C-BEV is a sporty SUV Coupe

It shows a vehicle that closely matches the proportions of other popular crossover SUVs in the performance market, including the BMW X6 Crossover Coupe and Mercedes-Benz GLE, with a sloping roofline that tapers towards the rear of the vehicle, a short, angular tailgate, and high wheel arches.

As with all leaked renderings, it’s tough to know for sure if what we’re looking at is the real deal. However, we’ve got to admit the rendered images shown by Auto Motor und Sport do bear a similarity to the teaser image released by Audi itself a few months ago.

This gives us confidence in the other information leaked by the magazine: a total power output of somewhere around 373 kilowatts (500 horsepower) and a total torque of around 516 pound feet, as well as a battery pack somewhere in the order of 90 kilowatt-hours in size.

That would certainly give the Q6 e-tron near the claimed 300+ mile range on the NEDC test cycle, although we’d expect real-world range to be nearer to 270 miles per charge.

Autocar says sources at Audi claim that the C-BEV will use some of the same powertrain elements found in Audi’s limited-production build-to-order R8 e-tron sports car, including its motor and battery pack technology.

But it says, the Q6 e-tron — or rather the C-BEV concept car that precedes it — will use not one but three electric motors. One will sit up front to drive the front wheels, while each rear wheel will have its own powerful electric motor.

The car is said to share part of its drivetrain with the Audi R8 e-tron sports car.

The car is said to share part of its drivetrain with the Audi R8 e-tron sports car.

What’s curious about this particular report is that AutoCar claims the C-BEV’s front motor will sit inside the vehicle’s automatic gearbox, leading us to believe that some of the power from the concept will come from an internal combustion engine.

This is different to previous rumours, which place the C-BEV as an all-electric model with production versions being available in a verity of different drivetrain configurations including electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen.

Sadly, we’re unable to clarify this rumor one way or the other — but with the Frankfurt Motor Show just a few months away it won’t be long until we find out for sure.


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  • CDspeed

    If the design is real I like it more then the Model X, the Model X looks great but I do wish it didn’t look like a fat Model S. To be fair I haven’t seen the Model X in person so this isn’t a firm opinion of the Model X.

  • Joe Viocoe

    It seems Audi forgot about the promised R8 E-Tron and moved on to the next “Tesla-Killer”.

  • Espen Hugaas Andersen

    If the Q6 gets Supercharger access, it might be a worthy competitor to the Model X. But it will probably just get CCS, though hopefully not a mere 50 kW.

    • vdiv

      The CCS stations that are finally making an appearance in the US (Efacec, ABB, Signet) are all 50 kW. Also they are not currently laid out to allow for long distance travel, just for convenient fast charge around town. As such the only feasible long-distance electric vehicles remain the PHEVs and the EREVs

      • Espen Hugaas Andersen

        And Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X, of course.

        But Tesla has said that other car companies are welcome to get access to the Supercharger network, as long as the other car companies carry their share of the costs, the cars can realistically use the full 135 kW and the range is good enough to get between the superchargers. The Q6 seems to be the first competitor to fit the bill, now it just remains to be seen if Audi is smart enough to team up with Tesla.

        • vdiv

          Sure, if we consider the Tesla models “feasible” from a purchase perspective 🙂 I can’t see Audi and Tesla agreeing on Supercharger sharing, but stranger things have happened.

          According to PlugShare there are already close to 300 locations in the continental US with CCS stations. There are even certain routes like I-64 in Virginia that are becoming equipped throughout. Of course how many of these stations are ready and operational remains a question, especially considering that most locations have just one.

          • Espen Hugaas Andersen

            The thing about 50 kW CCS is that it just won’t cut it if you have a 90 kWh battery. The only reason for having such a large battery is driving long distances, but with only 50 kW, you’ll have to stop for 1 hour about every 2 hours if you’re going at 55 mph. If you’re going at 75 mph, that means you’ll have to stop for 1 hour every 1.25 hours. That’s not convenient long distance driving, even assuming ample functional chargers along your route. A Tesla would do the same charging stops in 20 minutes – *much* more convenient.

            I have a Model X reservation and there’s absolutely no way I’d consider an Audi Q6 without Supercharging, or minimally 100 kW CCS and a massive Audi-supported rollout of these chargers.

            Edit: (Okay, maybe if the Q6 cost 50k USD or something.)

          • vdiv

            Yeah, after some head-scratching, looking around at other options, deep contemplation of the purpose of life, and counting pennies (I hate that) I went with a Model S.

            Keep in mind that the Superchargers usually feed two stalls. If there are two cars using a Supercharger the available power is divided, whereas the CCS/CHAdeMO stations charge one car at a time.

            Regardless, it is amazing to see how large the charging infrastructure has become in just a few years and there is no denying that the Supercharger network has a lot to do with Tesla’s success. For the big boys to succeed they will have to deploy charging as well and the growing CCS network is partially a result of BWM/VW realizing that and pitching in.

          • Espen Hugaas Andersen

            True that the superchargers have two stalls, but there’s usually 2-5 superchargers at each site. At least here in Norway, there’s rarely crowding at the superchargers. That’s with around 9000 Model S on the roads and 23 supercharger sites.

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