Audi has a new electric concept car called the E-tron GT, unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show.
The car, which will go into mass production in late-2020, uses the same drivetrain and electric platform as the Porsche Taycan, but replaces the curvaceous sporty body with that of an aggressive, angular four-seat sedan.
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Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr was on hand at the launch event to help reveal the E-tron GT, recognizing Audi's partnership with the film franchise. The car borrows its general shape — especially the sloping rear end — from the Audi A7, but with sharper creases, larger wheels, and more muscular haunches.
The car has a 90kWh battery pack which sends power to an electric motor on each axel, giving the car all-wheel-drive. Audi says the power output is 590 horsepower, which will help launch the car to 60 mph in "around 3.5 seconds."
Audi says the sprint to 124 mph (200 km/h) takes "just over 12 seconds," and the top speed is limited to 149 mph.
The car will go into production in late-2020Audi
A top-spec Tesla can beat the Audi on all of those stats. But when it comes to charging, the Porsche-developed system is in a different league to Tesla's Supercharger. Using an 800-volt battery system, Audi says the E-tron GT's battery can be charged from almost empty to 80 percent in 20 minutes, roughly half the time a Tesla Model S or Model X takes.
Tesla Superchargers can currently deliver up to 120 kW of power, while Porsche has set a goal for itself of 350 kW, and has already achieved 250 kW while developing the system.
The Volkswagen Group, which owns both Audi and Porsche, is investing billions of euros in the electrification of many of its brands between now and the middle of the next decade. It is also building charging networks in the U.S. called Electrify America, and in Europe called Ionity to compete with Tesla's Supercharger network.
The GT will be Audi's third all-electric car, and come to the market after the E-tron SUV and E-tron Sportback, which are both due in 2019. Production of the GT will begin in late-2020, with first deliveries starting in 2021.
Although described as a concept by Audi, the E-tron GT looks much closer to production-ready than other vehicles which tend to carry the 'concept' badge at auto shows.
Even the interior, where concept builders often get carried away, contains recognizable Audi switchgear and touch screens. We suspect rather little will change with the GT between now and 2020. The car's price has yet to be announced, but we expect it will fall somewhere between $60,000 and $85,000 depending on optional extras. The E-tron SUV is priced from $74,800 in the U.S.
With legacy car makers like the VW Group, Jaguar Land Rover and others all making the switch to electric, it's fair to say that Tesla's early lead is about to come to an end.
The electric car market will likely look very different as we enter the next decade, and the question will of course be, can Tesla hold onto its loyal customers, or will they be lured away by manufacturers with decades or even a century of experience?
Whatever happens, the electric car market will certainly flourish and buyers will have more choice than ever.