Smaller Audi electric SUV coming in 2020 alongside E-Tron GT

Small CUV or hatch on VW's MEB platform will take entry-level EV spot

  • Image Credit: Audi
One year ago there was one battery-electric SUV on sale, the Tesla Model X. This year there are two, with the addition of the first legacy OEM entry, the Jaguar I-Pace. Over the next two years, at least nine more all-electric high haulers will get in on the buzz, from old-timers like Mercedes-Benz to fresh turks like Rivian — and this doesn't include Chinese automakers nor the ever-faltering Faraday Future. Autocar reports Audi has another electric crossover up its Ingolstadt sleeve after the E-Tron, preparing for a concept showing sometime early next year before going on sale in late 2020 around the same time as the E-Tron GT.

In 2017, Audi said it planned to bring three EVs to market by 2020, adding nine more such models by 2025. Autocar said this new entrant will be sized between the Q2 (pictured) and Q3, making it the smallest and most affordable EV in the German maker's lineup. Assuming it shows up on time, this little guy would be Audi's fourth EV in the aforementioned timeframe after the E-Tron, E-Tron Sportback, and E-Tron GT. It will also be a clear member of the family, Audi design chief Marc Lichte confirming the same inverted grille, intakes, and shoulder line from the larger siblings for the entry-level EV.

On our First Drive of the E-Tron SUV, Audi told us it was working with three SUV platforms: a heavily reworked MLB Evo architecture for the E-Tron SUV and derivatives, J1 for the E-Tron GT — shared with the Porsche Taycan — and the coming PPE, developed with Porsche for future EVs. Autocar says the unnamed Q EV will use the Volkswagen Group's MEB platform, developed first for the I.D. line of cars and crossovers due to launch next year with the ID Neo and eventually shared with Skoda and Seat, too.

This vehicle sounds like the A3-sized electric car — down to the launch timeline — that Audi's head of exterior design talked to Auto Express about at the L.A. Auto Show. At issue is whether it will be a traditional hatchback, as Auto Express calls it, or a crossover, as Autocar calls it. For reference, the MEB-based I.D. Neo, which VW calls a hatchback, is about the size of a VW Golf.

Since we don't get the Q2 in America, but we do get the A3, A3 Sportback E-Tron hybrid, and Q3, we don't know if whatever Audi reveals will head to international markets only. Audi has said that its MEB platform offerings "[serve] as the basis for a series of Audi e-models, particularly in the high-volume A segment. One of these is being developed specifically for the requirements of China, the single most important market."

Alongside these four models, Audi will bring five more SUVs to market before 2025, leaving room for some Avant EVs in the pipeline.

Assuming on-time deliveries, by the time late 2020 gets here, our domestic mainstream EV SUV playing field will add the BMW iX3, Ford Mach E, Kia Niro EV, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Rivian R1T pickup and R1S SUV, Tesla Model Y, Volvo XC40 EV, and VW I.D. Crozz.

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