Audi to develop Tesla Model S all-electric rival

Audi e-tron
Audi e-tron

The Tesla Model S has a rival. Audi is to develop all-electric family car. This is to be a family car that will offer an all-electric range of 280 miles (450 kilometers), according to Auto Express, which reported that the vehicle is under development and is to arrive in 2017. Audi's technical development chief Ulrich Hackenberg told Auto Express, "I was able to reengineer the R8 e-tron project and technology with the team and we are on the way to a range of 450km (280 miles)." Auto Express reporter Jonathan Burn said the all-electric family car is expected to adopt a saloon style body to allow for better packaging. "The larger surface area of a saloon would allow for the bigger and more powerful batteries to be stowed beneath the floor of the car so to not encroach on boot or passenger space."

Plugin Today said that Audi will use next-generation batteries in order to achieve the 450 km range. Jonathon Ramsey, associate editor for the Autoblog, said Wednesday that most observers expected it to be a sedan and that "Audi will be applying lessons learned in the development of the coming R8 E-tron to the future electric car, after it managed to double the range of the thanks to new battery technology to 450 kilometers, or 281 miles."

All this should come as no surprise to those who followed Reuters report from Berlin in June, which said that Audi had drawn up blueprints for a wider range of high-performance to help it take on German rivals as well as Tesla if the market picks up.

Tesla, meanwhile, has its own views about competition. In June, Tesla Motors moved to open its patents to competitors in the spirit of the open source movement. "At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn't have been more wrong." Musk said that "Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world's factories every day." He said that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would benefit from a common, rapidly evolving technology platform.

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