The compact Sportback will join the plainly named e-tron, an electric SUV due next year, as Audi’s battery-fuelled push gains momentum – it is the second of three new all-electric vehicles the brand aims to build. The third is expected to be a Q6 e-tron, built off an upcoming fastback-styled version of the Q7 large SUV.
The futuristic bones of the production e-tron Sportback will come from a similarly named concept vehicle unveiled in Shanghai earlier this year, a four-door “gran turismo” coupe that uses a 320kW electric drive system. Audi confirmed at the time that the Sportback would be built in 2019, but didn’t say where.
The Audi A7-styled e-tron Sportback’s electric motor should be able to make the sprint from 0-100km/h in about 4.5 seconds, helped by 800Nm of stump-pulling thrust available from almost a standstill and sent to all four wheels. And just like a turbo car, the e-tron Sportback is expected to include an overboost function that will bump power to 380kW for up to 10 seconds.
As for range? Expect around 500km of reach from the battery pack hidden under the floor – an idea pioneered in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class but since adopted by other electric car makers including Tesla.
The Shanghai concept includes some clever thinking, such as luminescent interior panels that provide ambient light without the need to use energy-sapping bulbs. Yes, you still need to power up the panels, but Audi says the drain on the electrical system is a lot less.
The production car will spin off the Volkswagen Group’s MEB “ Modular Electrification Toolkit” platform that will underpin the group’s future battery-powered vehicles.
Other concepts built off the platform include the Volkswagen ID, the Kombi-styled ID Buzz, and the pod-like BUDD-e. Volkswagen’s first product built off the platform, a Golf-sized hatchback, is expected in 2020.