This will enable the Audi e-tron to better compete with the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace.
Audi's electric expansion is about to begin with the launch of the e-tron GT this summer as the German automaker prepares to become an EV-only brand by 2026. Don't think, however, that Audi has forgotten about its first EV: the e-tron. As battery technology has improved since the electric SUV launched in 2019, Autocar reports that Audi is planning a major update for the e-tron and e-tron Sportback as part of a mid-cycle facelift.
As part of the update planned for 2022, the e-tron and e-tron Sportback will be upgraded with new battery technology offering an increased range of 373 miles in both variants.
For comparison, the 2021 Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback sold in the US offer an EPA-rated range of up to 222 miles on a single charge. This is already an improvement over the 2019 model, which had a range of 204 miles. Should the new batteries arrive as promised, this will bring the e-tron's range closer to its chief rivals, the Jaguar I-Pace and Model X Long Range Plus, which offer ranges of 234 miles and 371 miles respectively.
As well as the new batteries, the upgraded e-tron and e-tron Sportback will also benefit from more efficient electric motors and improved energy recuperation. According to Autocar, the updated Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback will launch in the second half of 2022.
The updates will extend the model lifecycle of Audi's original electric SUV until at least 2025 before they are replaced by a new electric SUV that could be called the Q8 e-tron. Audi's electric SUV lineup is about to get more crowded with the upcoming launches of the Q4 e-tron and Q6 e-tron.
When it was announced in Shanghai back in April, the Q6 e-tron was expected to replace the e-tron, but Audi confirmed that its original electric SUV will live a lot longer than we expected. "The Q6 E-tron will compete in a different market segment to the E-tron and E-tron Sportback," a source at Audi told Autocar. "It's smaller - roughly the size of the [conventionally powered] Q5. However, the dedicated platform will allow it to offer interior and load-carrying space similar to today's Q7."