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Next-Gen Audi e-tron Will Carry More Familiar Name

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The Audi e-tron family welcomed its newest member with the introduction of the 2020 e-tron Sportback, a new, sleeker, sportier version of the company's electric crossover. The e-tron Sportback debuted at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show sporting some impressive Matrix LED headlights, a slightly improved range, and some changes under the skin compared to the standard e-tron.

Sitting down with Matt Mostafaei, Product Manager for the e-tron Sportback, we had a chance to talk about the future of electric vehicles from Audi as the company expands the e-tron portfolio. "Next year we will have the e-tron GT production version here in LA," Mostafaei told us. "And beyond that, we will have the Q4 e-tron," which previews a smaller e-tron model yet to come.

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With the Q4 e-tron set to be the fourth model in the e-tron range, we asked Mostafaei why Audi had chosen to attach an alpha-numeric name to that model, while the current e-tron models have separate, standalone names. "The e-tron name moving forward is purely reserved for electric vehicles. Our plug-in hybrids will be called TSFI e," he explained.

"The e-tron was the first of our electric onslaught and takes the title of holding our electric future. Then, as that future comes to proliferation and comes to life, we'll start mixing in normal models - Q4 being the first one - into our lineup."

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So as Audi starts to add new e-tron-branded models like the Q4 (and possibly a Q6 in the future), where does this leave the first e-tron that started it all?

"The e-tron you see here will theoretically never die just like the Quattro from the '80s has never really died. Quattro lives on in all the cars we build today and the e-tron will continue to live on in all of our vehicles," Mostafaei said.

We asked Mostafaei directly if this means we won't see a second generation e-tron in the future. "You definitely won't," Mostafaei answered. "The e-tron as you see it is just the start of everything else that's to come."

Audi also confirmed to CarBuzz that it has decided to use even numbers on its electric products moving forward, like the Q4 as an example. Mostafaei told us the Q4 would have a similar footprint to the Q3, but with the interior volume of a Q5. Similarly, if Audi released a Q6 e-tron, it would have the footprint of a Q5 with the interior space of a Q7. So although the e-tron's life as a standalone model will be short, its legacy should live on in Audi's lineup.

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