Road to the future

Audi has long been a pioneer of e-mobility, paving the way for an exciting automotive future.

As Audi gets ready to produce its first all-electric, series-production vehicles, Audi Magazine takes a look back over some of the milestone e-tron vehicles from the brand with four rings.

1 May, 2017

With the recent unveiling in Shanghai of the ground-breaking Audi e-tron Sportback concept, fully-electric SUV, the world got its first look at an exciting new wave of production vehicles from the brand.

But Audi’s history of developing electronic and hybrid drive vehicles for the road goes way back to the late 1980s.

The first production offering of a car combining a combustion engine with an electric motor was the Audi duo from 1997. Although the technology was ground-breaking, the vehicle’s appearance was familiar, housed as it was in the body of an Audi A4 Avant. 

The next landmark technological development though had a far more ‘racy’ look, when Audi unveiled the Audi R8 e-tron at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. The svelte R8 styling lent itself perfectly to the e-tron name and the performance more than lived up to the R8’s fierce reputation,  in 2012 setting a lap record time for an electric car on the North Loop of the famed Nürburgring.

In 2014 Audi added a first plug-in hybrid to its range in 2014 in the guise of the 150kW Audi A3 e-tron – its battery units recharged by recuperation and cable, giving it an all-electric range of up to 50 kilometres. 

Then the Audi Q7 e-tron made its debut in 2016 – powered by a combination of a 3.0 TDI and an electric motor which together deliver 275kW and 700Nm of torque.
It accelerates from a standing start to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds and is particularly efficient. In all-electric mode, it has a range of up to 56 kilometres while producing zero local emissions. It is also the world’s first plug-in hybrid with a V6 compression ignition engine and quattro drive. 

Another concept car took centre stage at Frankfurt International Motor Show in 2015 with the e-tron quattro concept presented for the first time. The forerunner of the brand’s first all-electric-drive production vehicle, it offers a range of up to 500 kilometres with the spaciousness and comfort of a typical full-size vehicle yet with sportswear performance –  sprinting from 0 to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds. But not just a concept vehicle, the future is upon us, with the production version of this pioneering electric SUV set to appear on the market in 2018, with the Audi e-tron Sportback concept hot on its heels with a production version planned for 2019.