Audi E-Tron SUV debut date set, and it'll cost less than Tesla Model X

The first wave of Audi's electric onslaught

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Audi will reveal the production E-Tron Quattro on Aug. 30 in Brussels, Belgium, at the company's second annual Audi Summit. The timing has all to do with the fact that Audi's Brussels manufacturing center begins building the SUV that month. Belgian auto unions have said the plan is to build 4,700 E-Tron SUVs this year, to begin satisfying the thousands of reservations Audi's already taken from across Europe for the full-electric crossover that will slot between the Q5 and the Q7. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler quoted the price in Germany as 80,000 euros (about $95,000) — that's compared to 77,850 euros for the entry-model Jaguar I-Pace S AWD and 92,230 euros for the entry-level Tesla Model X 75D.

The E-Tron concept hews closer to the Jaguar's specs, being a dedicated five-seater and measuring the same 192.1 inches long. The E-Tron SUV, however, applies one additional electric motor compared to those rivals, placing one unit at the front and two at the rear for an all-wheel drive system Audi dubs "electric quattro." A 95-kWh battery pack charges a 320-kilowatt electric drive system, the result being 429 horsepower standard, 496 hp on timed overboost, a 4.5-second 0-60 sprint, and a 248.5-mile range on the WLTP test protocol, which could differ from the number it gets in U.S. testing. The Jaguar is rated by the EPA at 240 miles of range, and the Tesla's range starts at 237 miles.

Audi's rolling out a European fast-charger network in a joint venture with five other carmakers in Europe, starting with nearly 1,200 high-power charging stations at 100 sites across the continent this year. Within two years the Ionity network plans 400 sites roughly 74 miles apart. Charging capacities up to 350 kW will be possible, but plugging the E-Tron into a 150-kW fast charger will yield an 80 percent charge in 30 minutes.

The E-Tron SUV will be the opening act for an electrified onslaught out of Audi's gates. The production version of the sportier E-Tron Sportback concept will bow next year with a similar powertrain and specs, then an E-Tron GT sedan and a compact offering in 2020. Audi said it targets 800,000 global sales of more than 20 electrified vehicles by 2025, but keep in mind that "electrified" includes mild hybrids like the 2019 Audi A8. Those figures could represent a remarkable spike in Audi's total sales figures, seeing that the brand sold 16,000 electrified vehicles out of 1,878,100 total deliveries 2017.

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