A sneak attack from Audi will stifle Jaguar's plans to become a peer to Germany's Big Three.
Right now, Jaguar Land Rover is the underdog in this story, but its Tata Motors money is being spent well and the automaker is making exactly the moves it needs to in order to carve out a niche and get ahead of the much larger competition. The biggest blow to opposition forces was supposed to come from the I-Pace that debuted at the LA Auto Show. Good design and clever engineering carefully targets each selling point that's making consumers spend a fortune on luxury SUVs will all be featured on the I-Pace.
With that sort of consumer seduction, the I-Pace seems poised to bring tiki torch-bearing mobs to the dealership to buy, but if you thought Jaguar's rush to the top was going to go unchallenged, you're living in a fantasy land. With the confidence of an automaker that's endured one of the most damaging scandals in recent memory and literally come out on top, Volkswagen AG is enlisting the technological prowess of its Four Rings wing to develop an electric SUV to cut away at some of the Jaguar's dealership crowd. Autocar has just spotted what will likely be Audi's e-tron-badged SUV. Roaming the streets with camouflage, it appears that the Audi SUV is in its final testing phase before it's ready to sell.
This backs up previous reports to Autocar that the Four Rings would be the first premium luxury automaker to offer an electric SUV to the masses (the Tesla Model X isn't exactly priced in a manner that's friendly to the crowds). Audi is eyeing a 2018 launch date and a price point around that of a well-spec'd A6. Not quite as friendly as what the Tesla Model Y could be priced at, but low enough to convince more EV-curious to jump on board with the purchase if it beats the Jag to market. Battery technology is cited as being advanced, with a 311-mile range being within the realm of possibility. Audi's major challenge now will be to find a way to expand charging infrastructure, but it seems to be well on its way to covering those bases.