Audi Announces Partnership with LG Chem, Samsung to Produce 300+ Mile ‘Tesla-Killer’ 2018 Q6 SUV

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.

The C-BEV Concept will be unveiled in a month at the Frankfurt Motor Show

The C-BEV Concept will be unveiled in a month at the Frankfurt Motor Show

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.

General Motors uses LG Chem cells in its 2016 Chevrolet Volt and soon-to-launch 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.

General Motors uses LG Chem cells in its 2016 Chevrolet Volt and soon-to-launch 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.

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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  • Michael Thwaite

    Fighting talk! Tesla Killer!

    • vdiv

      Poor Tesla, everyone wants to kill them. Just need to remind Audi of what Subaru says:

      “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.”

      Now if Subaru doesn’t get their act together and produce an EV we’re gonna kill them too!

      • Koenigsegg

        Poor Tesla? Their 1 car is the best car ever made, better than every car on the road.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Audi is nothing but talk.

    What happened to the R8 E-Tron…. Tesla Model S “Killer”? Nothing!
    Now, that they think we all forgot… time to talk about a Model X “Killer”.

    3 years from now, Audi will STILL BE BEHIND… and then start talking about a Model 3 “Killer”.

    • CDspeed

      The R8 in any form, is still just launching, I was at an Audi dealer a few weeks back, and the salesman I talked to hadn’t received sales information for the R8 let alone the R8 e-tron.

      • Joe Viocoe

        Yeah… and by the time this Q6 is “just launching”, it will be 2018… and old news, and obsolete.

        • CDspeed

          That’s what Audi has said, 2018. BMW first showed the i3 in 2011, and you couldn’t buy one in the US until 2014. So three years isn’t unheard of, the problem is the time line looks a lot longer with Audi because they’ve spent more time talking about EVs, and haven’t produced anything.

          • Joe Viocoe

            The i3 wasn’t a Tesla Killer, and never was touted as such.

            Audi has a habit of puffing their chest like they have something just around the corner. Audi should stop trying to capitalize on the fame and reputation of Tesla, and try to stand on their own.

          • CDspeed

            Well yes the i3 is just another low range hatchback, and really Audi has come up with some exciting concepts only to back away from them, they’ve done that a lot. It sounds like they’re serious this time, we’ll see just how serious they are pretty soon.

          • cros13

            The i3 was launched here in europe in 2013. That would be two years lead not three, for a much more complex production process with CFRP frame etc.

  • Koenigsegg

    Tesla Killer is plural, meaning the Model S killed every car that exists. No one can make a better car than Tesla. Tesla leads the auto industry. Audi will especially NOT make a “Tesla Killer”. They’ll make a half ass bland generic looking EV thats overpriced.