While a very few automakers, such as Tesla Motors and Nissan, have made a concerted effort in producing electric vehicles, others, such as Audi and Toyota, have put their efforts into hybrid vehicles and other alternative fuels.
Audi, which could be considered the luxury and performance lineup of the Volkswagen Group, much like Lexus is to Toyota, is one of these companies that has been somewhat wishy-washy when it comes to its electric vehicle program. Audi has revived and killed the program a few times and, in the name of profits, who can blame them? Many potential clients are turned off by electric vehicles, if only due to lack of education, because of the higher price, fewer “refueling” chances, and limited range. Developing and producing hundreds, or thousands, of high-priced luxury- and performance-electric vehicles that no one will buy isn’t a good business practice.
Of course, now Audi may be paying for its lack of vision, seeing how successful Tesla Motors, Nissan, and General Motors have been with the Model S, Leaf, and Volt. Of course, who can forget to include Audi arch-rival BMW’s new BMW i3, a luxury compact electric vehicle making waves across Europe and North America. Audi’s answer to all this? An Audi R8 e-tron electric supercar. The Audi R8 e-tron is expected to hit European showrooms in 2015, offering a range of 280 miles. Apparently, this is an electric vehicle conversion, not a purpose-built electric vehicle, because production will be on-demand.
Still, Audi has at least designed a number of other Audi electric vehicles, including sedans and SUVs, such as the Audi Q8 e-tron, which is expected to launch coinciding with the upcoming Tesla Model X. Sources at Audi also say that future Audi electric vehicles will be shooting for at least 250 miles range, which should prove to be a relief for potential Audi e-tron clients.
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