Audis-fully-electric-SUV-in-the-pipelineIn 2015, Audi teased us with the E-tron Quattro concept; promising an extremely similar production version set to be in showrooms by 2018.

“We’re calling call it Audi E-tron, just ‘E-tron’, because this is a quite important Audi sub-brand for the future,” says Audi board member Dr Dietmar Voggenreiter. “There’s quite simple logic behind that. We had, in the middle of the 1980s, the Audi Quattro, and we also called it just ‘Quattro’.”

The ‘Quattro’ name was subsequently displayed prominently on the back of any all-wheel-driven Audi from then on.

“So we’re doing the same with the Audi E-tron, which is our first fully battery-powered car.”

If the electric Audis are successful, Voggenreiter believes the E-tron will be the car we remember as the ‘beginning’ – much the same way that petrolheads view the early Quattro.

Anyone hoping for boxed wheel arches and a squat stance is set to be disappointed though. “It’s very close to the show car. This is a really SUV-oriented, fully battery car.”

It has to be said the initial concept E-tron was an extremely good looking car compared to other SUVs; its design clearly inspired the new Audi Q8. The production edition is expected to be marginally smaller than the concept however.

The E-tron badging is set to be used on the plug-in hybrids as well as the full EVs. “For us, E-tron is always electrification, and in the beginning, we’ll see more plug-in hybrid cars. Later we will see a bigger share of fully battery vehicle cars. This is part of our ‘Strategy 2025’, where we’re changing our business model from just selling cars, to also providing more mobility services.”

“If we see more and more sharing and ride-hailing, then for me, there is a clear indicator that sales volume is not the right number to measure the success of an automotive company anymore,” Voggenreiter adds. “We are talking more about active users or driven kilometres with your cars.”

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