INGOLSTADT, Germany – Audi confirms plans for a new all-electric sedan to directly rival the Tesla Model S.
Chairman Rupert Stadler says the 4-door e-Tron GT is planned to go into production in 2020.
Production plans for the vehicle were announced during the German automaker’s 2018 annual news conference in Ingolstadt, Germany, where Stadler confirmed it as one of three all-electric models being developed and planned for launch by Audi by the start of the next decade.
Stadler says the new Audi will line up alongside the e-Tron Quattro unveiled in prototype form and lightly disguised at the recent Geneva auto show, as well as a production version of the e-Tron Sportback first revealed in concept-car form at the 2017 Shanghai auto show.
The e-Tron GT is to be produced on a dedicated EV assembly line at Audi Sport’s Böllinger Höfe industrial park located near Audi’s Neckarsulm plant in southwest Germany.
The Böllinger Höfe site, which went on line in 2014, currently produces the R8 coupe and roadster.
“We interpret sportiness very progressively with our fully electric e-Tron GT, and this is how we will take our high-performance brand Audi Sport into the future,” Stadler says while revealing an image of the new Audi model on a video wall.
The single image is a conceptual sketch of a low-slung 4-door coupe-style sedan featuring a heavily tapered front end with slim rectangular headlamps and a long hood. Further back, it hints at a car with heavily structured sides, a high beltline and shallow glasshouse.
In a subsequent statement issued on Twitter, Audi Sport describes the darkened image as a “sneak peek into the electrified future of Audi Sport – the first draft of the prototype Audi e-Tron GT.”
Hinting it will be positioned at the top of the Audi lineup, the Audi Sport tweet also says the Tesla Model S rival will be the “Spearhead of Audi Sport by the year 2020.”
Audi doesn’t provide technical details of the e-Tron GT, though the new sedan is expected to share the J1 platform of the upcoming Porsche Mission E in a move aimed at achieving suitable economies of scale between the two Volkswagen Group companies.
Although Audi has announced it is jointly developing a new EV platform with Porsche, the so-called premium platform electric (PPE) architecture, the automakers jointly announced in February that the platform isn’t planned to underpin a production model until the end of 2021.
“The first models based on the PPE are planned for the end of 2021. Beforehand, in 2018 and 2019, the e-Tron and Mission E production models will be the first electric models of the two premium brands to be launched,“ the announcement read.
Confirmation from Audi Sport via Twitter that the e-Tron GT is set to see production in 2020 places it one year ahead of the first planned model to use the PPE platform.
As well as challenging the Tesla Model S, the new Audi is expected to see competition from a new, all-electric Jaguar sedan being developed as a sister model to the recently unveiled I-Pace SUV and successor to the U.K. automaker’s long-running XJ sedan.
While confirming plans for the e-Tron GT, Stadler also reveals pricing for Audi’s first all-electric model, the e-Tron Quattro, will start at €80,000 ($99,000) when sales officially begin later this year in Germany. This compares with the €77,850 ($95,900) price tag Jaguar confirmed for the I-Pace at the Geneva show. The Tesla Model X electric CUV is priced from €96,250 ($118,600) in Germany.
The Audi chairman confirms the e-Tron Quattro will be revealed at an event at the company’s factory in Brussels, Belgium, where it will be produced, in mid-2018.
Stadler says Audi will offer some 20 electrified models by 2025, suggesting more than half of them will be all-electric vehicles with the rest comprising both plug-in and mild hybrids.