In a surprise move it has been confirmed that Audi is currently working on a new electric vehicle which should be ready in 2017. Technical director Prof Dr Ulrich Hackenberg confirmed that the company is in the process of developing a potential competitor to the award-winning Tesla Model S. This move has taken many by surprise when you bear in mind the "patchy" record which Audi already has in the electric vehicle market. Now the company seems to have rolled up its sleeves and is ready to take on the mighty Tesla on its own patch!
Experts believe that the technology currently being developed by Audi for its R8 e-tron model will be transferred to this new vehicle.
What can we expect in the future?
There are no definitive timescales, there are no specifications in the public domain, but one thing we do know is that it will not be a sports car. Insider speculation is suggesting a sedan type vehicle with a journey capacity of 450 km (280 miles) per full charge. At this moment in time some would argue this is ambitious and unobtainable in the short term but let us not forget that Porsche has already announced plans to release a vehicle in the future with a similar journey capacity.
Quote from Electricforum.com: "While expectations for the electric vehicle market have never been higher, investment has never been greater and the pressure has never been as intense, Tesla still continues to deliver. After announcing a $75 million quarterly loss the company actually seems well positioned with much of this expenditure going towards excessive demand for the new Tesla Model S."
While there is no doubt that Audi’s reputation in the electronic vehicle market is not as good as it should be, this is a company which prides itself on quality, durability and excellent value for money. If a company is ready and willing to invest significant time, money and effort into the electric vehicle market then we can only suggest that it will be a car worth waiting for.
Is it sensible to take on Tesla?
Those who follow the electric vehicle industry will be well aware that Tesla is head and shoulders above any other company in the sector. It has come from relative obscurity to become a multi-billion-dollar business in a relatively short space of time. The company initially started out in the luxury sports end of the market, although slowly but surely it is approaching the mass-market with new ideas and plans for the future. Maybe competition from companies such as Audi will help to refocus Tesla in the future and also give consumers more choice?
At this moment in time it is difficult to see how any Audi electric vehicle could hope to smash Tesla in a marketplace in which it is very comfortable. However technology is fickle and there is no more fickle a market than the electric vehicle sector!
Competitors targeting Tesla
When you bear in mind that the likes of Porsche and now Audi have plans in place to release electric vehicles in the short to medium term, attacking the comfort zone of Tesla, it does seem as though electric vehicles are here to stay. We have seen literally billions upon billions of dollars invested in new technology and battery systems as well as recharging networks around the world. Tesla has had much of the last few years its own way with limited if any real competition although this appears to be on the verge of changing.
However, do not write off Tesla because this is a company able to look into the future, remain nimble and surefooted and focused on exactly what it plans to do and what it needs to do. Audi, Porsche, and any other "new kids on the block" will certainly have a battle on their hands wrestling Tesla's market share away from the company.