Audi Q6 e-tron takes on Tesla Model X ahead of Frankfurt auto show

Audi and Tesla are locked in battle of electric SUVs. Audi on Wednesday released the first look at the e-tron quattro, a vehicle to rival the Tesla Model X  that will make its debut in September at the Frankfurt auto show. 

Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters/File
The Audi Q7 E-Tron Quattro diesel-electric caron display during the second press day ahead of the 85th International Motor Show in Geneva. On Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, Audi released teaser shots of the new Q6 e-tron quattro, an electric SUV meant to rival the forthcoming Tesla Model X.

Audi is working on an electric SUV that will challenge Tesla Motors’ [NSDQ:TSLA] Model X when it arrives on the market in 2018. Today, the German automaker released some teaser shots of a concept previewing the new electric SUV. The concept is called the Audi e-tron quattro and will make its debut on September 15 at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show.

It’s built around the latest MLB Evo platform and was designed from the ground up as an electric car, with its shape designed in such a way as to reduce drag while also highlighting the technical aspects with its clean surfaces and edgy look. The concept also features an aerodynamically optimized underbody that’s completely closed, helping to achieve a low coefficient of drag of 0.25—a record for the SUV segment, according to Audi.

Its electric drivetrain was developed using knowledge gained in the development of the R8 e-tron electric supercar. Three electric motors—one on the front axle and two on the rear—are featured in the concept and create an all-wheel-drive system. A large lithium-ion battery is positioned between the axles and below the passenger compartment, helping to lower the center of gravity and provide better balance.

Inside, there are four individual seats. From the teaser shots, we can see that designers have added a high-tech interface with numerous display screens. There are screens for the main instrument cluster, central infotainment system, and separate HVAC controls for front- and rear-seat passengers. Audi has already confirmed with its series of forward-looking Prolouge concepts that such a design will feature in its next-generation models.

In terms of size, Audi says the concept sits between the small Q5 and mid-size Q7. This makes sense as the production version it will spawn is expected to be called a Q6 e-tron quattro. Audi has confirmed the vehicle will utilize batteries supplied byKorean firms LG Chem and Samsung SDI and feature a range of 310 miles on a single charge. This range is almost certainly based on the European testing cycle, which produces longer range ratings than our own EPA tests. A reasonable rating for the Q6 e-tron here might be 240 miles or so.

The Q6 is being heavily promoted as an electric crossover but Audi is investigating other options for the vehicle including a likely plug-in hybrid option as well as a less certain hydrogen fuel cell option. Hopefully we’ll have more details once this concept version makes its debut in Frankfurt. For more of our coverage on the upcoming German show, head to our dedicated hub.

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