Next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi is poised to unveil an all-electric car called the C-BEV. Powered entirely by electricity, Audi says the concept car will preview a brand-new crossover SUV called the Audi Q6, which will hit the market in 2017 as a 2018 model year car.
For some time, Audi has promised the Q6 will be available as both an all-electric model in the form of the 2018 Audi Q6 e-tron, as well as a conventional gasoline model and a plug-in hybrid variant. While specifications for the two latter models have not been discussed in any detail, Audi has been adamant for some time that the all-electric model will offer a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) on the European NEDC test cycle, placing it squarely in the same territory as the soon-to-launch Tesla Model X crossover SUV.
Yesterday, Audi announced that vehicle will shortly become reality thanks to a partnership between South Korean battery suppliers LG Chem and Samsung SDI. Working with both firms, Audi says their respective european factories will provide their latest lithium-ion battery technology to the automaker for use in the all-electric SUV.
“Together with our South Korean development partners, we are bringing production of the latest battery‑cell technology to the EU and strengthening European industry with this key technology,” said Dr. Bernd Martens, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Procurement in an official Audi press release.
LG Chem, which has already been signed to provide General Motors with the cells needed to make a high energy-density lithium-ion battery pack for the upcoming 200+ mile 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, is currently the lithium-ion battery supplier of choice for many automakers. Indeed, LG Chem’s battery packs are considered so good that Japanese automaker Nissan — which currently makes its own lithium-ion battery packs in partnership with NEC — recently admitted it may switch to LG-Chem’s battery chemistry for future generations of its Nissan LEAF electric car.
Samsung SDI meanwhile, has been a supplier of Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] for many years.
At the head of Audi’s push towards a high-performance electric automaker is Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of Audi AG for Development. Audi — along with Volkswagen — has spent many months considering future battery suppliers for use in all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles across both brands, with Hackenberg overseeing all of the possible options.
“With our first battery-electric Audi SUV, we are combining an emission-free drive system with driving pleasure,” he said in Audi’s official press release announcing the selection of both battery suppliers. “We will optimally integrate the innovative cell modules developed with LG Chem and Samsung SDI into our vehicle architecture, thus achieving an attractive overall package of sportiness and range.”
Sadly, no other details are available yet on the upcoming all-electric Audi, but we’re bound to find out more in the very near future.
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