And it's called "Artemis".
The Volkswagen Group is making a concerted effort to leap to the front of the pack when it comes to pure-electric vehicles, and that zeal extends to premium luxury brand Audi. Hot on the heels of the battery-powered Audi e-tron crossover, the company is launching a more coupe-like sibling model, the e-tron Sportback, and still plenty more pure-electric Audis are already in the works.
Still, it will be awhile before Audi and its corporate parent Volkswagen can slip into a leadership position, chiefly because EVs are a space where Palo Alto manufacturer Tesla still maintains a sizable lead.
"Currently, Tesla has larger batteries because their cars are built around the batteries," Audi CEO Markus Duesmann told Germany's Handelsblatt in a recent interview. What's more, he admits that Tesla is also " two years ahead in terms of computing and software architecture, and in autonomous driving."
The Audi e-tron manages an EPA-estimated 204 miles of range on a full charge, vs. 218 miles for the more slippery e-tron Sportback. Both figures are far short of the Tesla Model X's 351 miles of range in Long Range Plus trim, although that vehicle's battery pack is only 5 kWh more capacious - 100 kWh to Audi's 95. Meanwhile, no competitor has partial-autonomy tech anything like Tesla's Autopilot, which boasts the most extensive list of features and the broadest range of operating conditions in the industry.
The answer, Duesmann says, is a new business unit forming within Audi dubbed "Artemis", after the Greek goddess of hunting.
"In Artemis we [will] bring together all specialists who work on the most modern technologies," Duesmann told Handelsblatt. "It will be a center of excellence that we have never had before." The goal of the group is to develop a new EV by 2024 that won't just lead in electric propulsion and range, but in the areas of connectivity and digital technology, too, closing the gap between Audi and Tesla, and perhaps allowing the premium German brand to conquer a chunk of the California automaker's large market share.