Audi Confirms Production Plans for 2018 Q6 e-Tron, Will Be Almost Identical to Frankfurt Concept Car

With Volkswagen AG possibly the most hated automaker on the planet right now thanks to its misdeeds in the dieselgate scandal, the German automaker and its associated brands are working hard to prove that blatant disregard for emissions requirements to date doesn’t mean the brand can’t be environmentally friendly in the future.

Indeed, since the Dieselgate scandal broke nearly two months ago, Volkswagen has promised to invest more heavily in electric vehicle development, planning to release more electrified and plug-in vehicles than before and even develop a new electric vehicle toolkit that it can use in its MQB-platform vehicles.

Debuted as the e-tron quattro concept, Audi's long-range EV is destined for production.

Debuted as the e-tron quattro concept, Audi’s long-range EV is destined for production.

While it’s not clear how long such a vehicle toolkit will take to come to market, there is at least some hope that Volkswagen’s promise to focus more on electrification is true with the news that Volkswagen’s luxury brand Audi is pushing ahead with plans to bring its all-electric 310-mile Q6 e-tron crossover SUV to market for early 2018.

That’s according to Autoexpress, which says Audi has now confirmed production plans for the e-tron Quattro Concept SUV it showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September — although the final vehicle name has yet to be confirmed.

Quoting Dr. Rudiger Chmieleswki, head of total vehicle development at Audi, the British publication said it learned the news this week at Audi’s Future Performance Day workshop, where it heard that much of the design work on the all-electric SUV had already been tied down.

Audi says it has the technology to bring the e-tron quattro to market.

Audi says it has the technology to bring the e-tron quattro to market.

“This is an electric car suitable for the long haul,” said Dr. Chmielewski. “It will have a 500 kilometer (310-mile) range, and is tangible proof of our commitment to electric mobility.”

At this point, we should of course note that Audi had already dropped some strong hints that the all-electric, long-range Q6 e-tron would enter production long before the Dieselgate scandal broke. Moreover, it’s not clear if Audi or Volkswagen’s priorities have changed on the Q6 e-tron as a consequence of the events of the past few months. But while we’re guessing Audi’s production plans were likely already put in motion before the news of Volkswagen AG’s emission misdeeds, the position the Q6 e-tron occupies in a future Audi lineup is likely now much more central to the brand’s future than perhaps it once was.

To ensure the right wow factor, and to try and place the all-electric crossover in the same market segment as the Tesla Model X, the production version of the Q6 e-tron will be almost identical to the e-tron Quattro Concept from outside, with the same flush door handles, OLED lights and wireless charging capability.  While it’s unclear at this stage if regulators will allow it, Audi is also hopeful the rear-view cameras shown on the e-tron Quattro Concept — which take the place of traditional door mirrors and lower drag considerably — will make it into the production vehicle.

“By the time we launch the e-tron, we will have a fast charge network in Germany,” he promised. “An 80 per cent charge will take 30 minutes. The success of a model like this will depend on the infrastructure.”

Unlike the Tesla Model X, which features two electric motors for all-wheel drive, the e-tron Quattro Concept SUV featured three electric motors — one driving the front axle and one electric motor for each rear wheel. Combined, they produced 370 kilowatts of power to give a claimed 4.6 second 0-62 mph time and an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph.

That would make the Q6 e-tron slower than the Model X, although we should note it would likely be a little less expensive than Tesla’s high-end crossover.

The production Q6 e-tron will look almost identical to the Frankfurt concept car.

The production Q6 e-tron will look almost identical to the Frankfurt concept car.

As for batteries? Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said that Audi’s engineers and battery suppliers have a new battery chemistry which makes 300+ mile ranges possible — although we should note here that’s according to the overly-optimistic NEDC test cycle: real-world ranges would be likely closer to 270 miles.

“With our engineers and our battery-cell suppliers we are at a stage where we can say, yes, this is feasible and we believe that with the ongoing investments in terms of infrastructure development we think that 20188-2019 is the right time to come up with such a car,” he said. “It will look nice, it will have sufficient range and we think the infrastructure will be sufficient in terms of supercharging.”

With Audi now committed to production of the e-tron quattro concept, we’ll be playing close attention to see if other plug-in vehicles follow as the Volkswagen group tries desperately to reshape itself as a trustworthy, caring automaker. But does this vehicle have what it takes to save the brand?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Matt Beard

    So, assuming it will need at a minimum 80kWh for 300 miles (surely it will need more unless these are marketing miles!) and if you also assume that this 80% charge starts at 20% rather than 0%… that will need to average 96kW through the charge. This will need 100kW chargers at a minimum, possibly higher. And these will be available in Germany only. In the UK we will have to fight for the half-dozen working CCS chargers with loads of other EV drivers. Then we will probably only get about 40kW. We could always go for AC and dribble the power in at 3kW (which is all VW/Audi seem to think we need when not rapid charging).

    The big secret to the success of Tesla is not really the cars (though they are a big part) it is the confidence you get from their infrastructure and customer support.

    • Michael Thwaite

      I was going to say the same! With my Roadster, I don’t want a 330 mile range, I want access to the charging network, range is so much less important when you can fill up anywhere. If Audi are serious, they need to get the infrastructure rolling today, BMW are 18 months into the i3 availability and there’s one DCFC unit in the whole of New Jersey! A skeptic might suggest that they weren’t all in. Will Audi follow suit or get going today?

  • Joe Viocoe

    Audi also confirmed the production of the R8 E-Tron… but quietly backed away.
    Until Audi actually delivers, take it all with Sodium Chloride.

    • CDspeed

      The new R8 e-tron is coming, the new R8 in general hasn’t gone on sale yet.

      • Joe Viocoe

        Let’s put it this way… It was in Iron Man 2,…. And we’re past the age of Ultron right now.

        Audi is perpetually “coming soon”

        • CDspeed

          Well the problem is they announced a few electric projects, and then backed down. So they accidentally gave themselves the reputation of “coming soon”. If they hadn’t backed down they could have launched something by now, but now they have to get through the usual launch procedures which takes a bit more time. Tesla you have to admit has had delays to, but of course Tesla’s set backs are done to allow proper development time, Audi’s situation is self inflicted, it’s too bad they didn’t see the diesel dead end sooner.

          • Joe Viocoe

            It’s not about being late… Everyone is.

            It’s about putting a lot of marketing emphasis around concept cars that the aren’t going to produce.
            Tesla has produced every concept they’ve shown. With Audi, they’ve got a track record for building lots of concepts that they back out of too easily.

          • CDspeed

            Yes that is true, Audi has built a lot of great concepts that dissapear without a trace. Although the most recent R8 e-tron shown was production spec, and with the Q6 e-tron they were saying it was production intent before it even debuted. I live near an Audi test center so occasionally I see pre production Audis on the road, I’ve seen the new R8 V10 Plus on the road recently, like most test cars it had little or no badging, and is being tested prior to going on sale. Here is an article of a R8 e-tron that seems to be in the same state of final pre-launch testing that was sighted recently.

  • Farmer_Dave


    Yep that’s probably the year Audi will produce this vehicle.

  • CDspeed

    I really like the Q6 e-tron, it looks a lot sportier then the Model X, I’d expect it to be more nimble in the first place and I’m sure the weight difference will help too. Between the Audi and the Tesla I’m leaning towards the Audi, but of course I still haven’t seen either of them in person.

  • Chris O

    “By the time we launch the e-tron, we will have a fast charge network in
    Germany,” he promised. “An 80 per cent charge will take 30 minutes. The
    success of a model like this will depend on the infrastructure.”

    That’s the sentence that caught my attention. If Audi really supplies a premium car with 200+ miles of range and if it supplies the sort of charging support that could deliver 80% in 30 minutes (Tesla 40 minutes!) and if it’s offered at Model S money, Tesla would finally have the sort of direct competition for its Model S/X series that so far is totally absent.

    That’s a lot of of “ifs” though.