Audi Plots Electric Hatchback To Battle BMW i3

Electric Car

A concept will reportedly be shown at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in a few months.

The e-tron electric SUV is just the start of Audi’s upcoming EV onslaught. By 2025, the German automaker aims to launch 12 electric vehicles, including a production version of the Tesla-rivalling E-Tron GT sedan shown at the LA Auto Show.
Now, the automaker has confirmed it’s working on a compact electric hatchback to rival the likes of the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. We won’t have to wait long to see it either, as Audi head of exterior design Andreas Mindt confirmed to Auto Express that a concept will be shown in a "couple of months." That means it will most likely debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in March four years after the original e-tron concept debuted at the same show back in 2015.

Rather than being based on an existing model, Audi’s new compact electric vehicle will likely be a standalone model built on the same platform as the Volkswagen I.D. hatchback due to start production next year. As a result, it’s expected to be offered with front-wheel drive to reduce costs and deliver a pure electric range of around 390 miles.

Mindt added that future Audi EVs will adopt more conventional designs to avoid alienating customers. “You can design for the early adopters or you can design for the mainstream customer as well - we want to catch both,” Mindt said. “There are a lot of people out there who just want a good looking car, they are not interested if it’s an EV or a conventionally powered car - in a couple of months we will show you a first draft.”

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Designing a compact EV is one of the most difficult jobs for a car designer, according to Mindt. “A super sports car that is low and wide is easy to design, like a penalty shot without a goal keeper but an electric car that is low and sleek is a harder task. To make a small car look nice which is cheap for mass production is a very hard task,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether Audi’s electric compact car will be sold in the US. We expect it will be around the same size as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt EV and BMW i3, which are all sold in America, but the Volkswagen I.D. hatchback won’t be coming to the US.

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