With the Tesla Model X set to begin deliveries later this year, conventional automakers are working hard to produce viable competitors to the hotly-anticipated electric crossover. The Audi Q6 e-Tron is likely to be the first Model X competitor to market, with a concept confirmed for a 2016 debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, reports Automotive News Europe.
The Audi Q6 will use the second-generation MQB platform developed by parent company Volkswagen with unique, aerodynamically-friendly styling designed to maximize range of around 500 kms/310 miles per charge. Audi is targeting an early 2018 launch, which would put it ahead of competitor vehicles from the likes of Porsche and BMW, but still two years behind the launch of the Tesla Model X, a car the Q6 e-tron is targeting.
This isn’t planned to be just some niche vehicle either, as Audi wants sales to top 10,000 units a year. A plug-in hybrid version is also likely to be added, and a hydrogen fuel cell model could be in the works too, but an all-electric model is tapped to lead the way. The Q6 e-tron follows the built-to-order Audi R8 e-tron electric supercar as the company’s second fully-electric vehicle, though I doubt it will be it’s last.
If successful enough, Audi could easily pivot to more fully-electric models, as it is already planning to add plugs to most of its lineup anyway. But can the Q6 come to market soon enough to steal some of Tesla’s thunder? Or by 2018, will Musk’s electric automaker have too much of a lead?