At the moment, the only Audi A3 e-tron Sportback is the only plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle that Audi sells. While the Audi Q8 and e-tron Quattro Concept are impressive and show a bright future for the four-ringed brand, they currently don’t actually exist on the road. So Audi must make do with just the A3 e-tron to take on its competitors. Frankly, it’s not enough, as competition such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz already have multiple models and the A3 e-tron isn’t that good. So it’s why Audi is looking to develop a new BMW i3-fighting electric car as part of its mission to develop three EVs by 2020.
While we likely won’t see this come to fruition this year, we could see a production-ready concept by the end of the year. “We will surprise you hopefully during 2017,” said Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. According to Stadler, Audi is working “very close together with [the] Volkswagen guys on the MEV [sic] platform.”
The MEV is the VW Group’s new small electric car architecture that underpins the Volkswagen ID Concept. Speaking of Volkswagen ID, that’s likely what the small electric Audi will be based on. That means it will probably be either a three or five-door hatchback, much like the BMW i3.
Stadler also claims that this new electric car doesn’t need the same 300-mile range that the e-tron Quattro concept boasts. It could likely only pack somewhere between 200 and 250 miles of range and be marketed as a city car, much like the i3 is.
This all comes right on the heals of Audi announcing that it would be making a BMW i8-fighting plug-in hybrid sports car. So it’s clear which automotive brand Audi has square in its sights, in terms of electric cars. The folks in Ingolstadt know that BMW is currently one of the world leaders in electric and hybrid vehicles, so they need to keep up with their Bavarian neighbors.