Electric vehicles, to some automakers, are more financial trouble than they’re worth, which has left cars like the Toyota RAV4 EV and Audi R8 E-Tron at the mercy of cost-cutting measures and program cutbacks.
It doesn’t have to be that way. After all, Tesla Model S is the only electric vehicle in the performance sedan category, and is being chosen over even luxury brands. If another luxury automaker, such as Audi, is going to produce an electric vehicle competitor for the Tesla Model S, now is the time to do it! Audi’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle program seems to be on track, with a 2015 A4 PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) coming to Europe and other alternative fuels being tested, but what happened to the Audi R8 E-Tron?
As per usual, Audi took a look at the production costs and profit margin of the Audi R8 E-Tron and failed to see the connection, that is, the profit margin was slim to none. Audi put the E-Tron program on hold. It makes some kind of sense, depending on how you look at it but, in my opinion, the short term profits are nothing compared to the long-term company benefits if Audi had gone on to develop their electric vehicle, even if it was supposedly limited. New lithium-ion battery technology, however, seems to have given the Audi R8 E-Tron a new lease on life, and the program is back on track, at least for now.
The Audi R8 E-Tron was previously spec’d at 130 miles range and a top speed of 130mph. Engineers have tweaked the 48.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack to give it even more range, up to 250 miles, which puts it in range of those looking at the Tesla Model S 60kWh, with 208 miles EPA- (Environmental Protection Agency) estimated range, or even the Tesla Model S 85kWh, with 265 miles EPA-estimated range. Audi can build it, and it might even be competitive, but is it too late to break into a market created by Tesla Motors?