And it has the Tesla Model 3 in its sights.
We’re only a few weeks away from this year’s Geneva Motor Show and, slowly but surely, details of which brands are revealing what are beginning to come out. According to Automotive News Europe, Audi will debut yet another electric vehicle concept, which will be in addition to the e-tron GT from LA last November. The report claims the new concept (pictured below is the 2017 e-tron Sportback Concept) is a preview of a new entry-level EV that will serve as a sister model to the also upcoming Volkswagen ID Neo hatchback. The latter is slated to go on sale in Europe next year.
The ID hatchback, as we already know, will be roughly the size of the VW Golf. So think of it and its unnamed Audi counterpart as having a similar relationship to the Golf and A3 hatchback.
As expected, the new Audi will ride on VW Group’s new MEB global platform for electric vehicles. As for the concept itself, sources claim it closely resembles the upcoming production version, which could debut as soon as late next year. Audi aims to begin customer deliveries in 2021. Both the Audi and VW ID will be built alongside one another at VW’s Zwickau factory in Germany. Another VW Group brand, Seat, will also have its version of the electric hatchback built there, which is said to be capable of manufacturing 330,000 EVs annually.
So why is this upcoming Audi concept potentially game-changing? Because unlike the e-tron SUV and e-tron GT, this EV will be far more affordable.
Audi ultimately wants it to be its best-selling EV. It could also appeal to potential Tesla Model 3 buyers who desire a premium brand over a more mainstream one, such as Volkswagen, Chevrolet (the Bolt), or Nissan (the Leaf). There’s an opening right now for another premium EV from a mainstream, established brand and Audi aims to get there. We know BMW is also working on the i4, a 3 Series-sized four-door coupe also designed to lure away Model 3 customers. The "more affordable” premium EV wars are about to commence.