Luke Ottaway's picture

Audi’s range anxiety-destroying electric SUV to feature wireless charging

Last week CEO Rupert Stadler provided further confirmation of Audi’s plan for a 2017 all-electric SUV with 370 miles of range and indicated the vehicle will be capable of charging without a plug.

Speculation has abounded since Audi indicated earlier this year that they will build an all-electric SUV to compete with the Tesla Model X, likely to be called the Q8 e-tron. Though few details are confirmed, the vehicle will probably arrive in 2017 and will take advantage of battery advancements between now and then to achieve a revolutionary 370 miles of electric range.

Before you get too excited, the 370 mile estimate is loosely based on the European NEDC cycle and is still only an estimate. The number will probably come down by the time the vehicle reaches production and the EPA subjects it to their tests, although that doesn’t mean it could not be achieved in real-world driving. And though Audi is being coy about price, it will almost certainly be north of $100,000.

However, an all-electric SUV achieving that kind of range on a single charge would definitely be noteworthy. It appears Audi is directly gunning for the Tesla Model X, although Tesla will have the decided advantage of owning the market for several years before the Audi arrives. Model X will also start in the $80,000 range, making it (marginally) more accessible for slightly less wealthy people. It also will boast coveted access to the Supercharger network.

A distinct advantage the Audi will have over Tesla, however, is wireless charging (via InsideEVs). Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed in an address at a conference in Stuttgart that the upcoming electric SUV will compete with Model X and will be equipped with inductive charging capability, enabling it to charge without a plug when parked in appropriately equipped parking spaces.

Audi has been developing wireless charging technology for years now and appears confident it will be able to roll out a reliable high-power system able to quickly recharge the massive battery pack of the Q8 e-tron. Again, details are scarce, but the announcement shows Audi is ready to join the movement toward wireless charging that has the potential to transform the EV industry.

Will the Q8 e-tron be the long-awaited competition for Tesla’s Model X? It certainly looks like Audi is gunning for the Palo Alto upstart with its future electric super-SUV. A happy side effect of this effort is the destruction of range anxiety for whoever can afford this luxury vehicle; the only problem is that few will be able to.

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