Audi coined the e-tron name in 2009 for an electric concept car based on the R8 supercar, and apparently likes it so much all future battery electric vehicles will carry the name with no other letters or numbers attached.
The information comes from a recent interview that British car magazine Autocar had with Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.
“It is comparable to the first Audi quattro, which was known simply as the quattro. In the long term the name e-tron will stand for a pure electric driveline structure,” Stadler told the publication.
First up will be an e-tron SUV previewed at last year’s Frankfurt auto show (above photo), slated for a 2018 launch.
The pure electric SUV will be followed by an electric full-size sedan and a smaller SUV as part of Audi’s plan to have three EV offerings by 2020.
As with the quattro name, Sadler confirmed that the e-tron name would also appear in combination with the luxury automaker’s traditional model nomenclatures.
“We will have models with the usual names, for example A6 e-tron, A7 e-tron, A8 e-tron and so on,” he said.
Audi has already used the name on the A3 Sportback e-tron, Q7 e-tron gasoline electric plug-in hybrids (the latter not sold in the U.S.), as well as the recently cancelled R8 e-tron electric car.
Autocar reported that Sadler also provided the first official hint that Audi is working on an up-market electric powered sedan to challenge the Tesla Model S. He said, “I do believe that it makes sense for the Audi brand to be positioned in the top premium segment with this driveline technology.”
It’s likely that the e-tron lineup will use the Volkswagen Group’s MEB (Modular Electric Toolkit) platform, which made its first appearance in Volkswagen’s I.D. concept at the recent Paris Motor Show.
This aligns with Volkswagen Group’s announcement to offer dozens of electric vehicles in the coming years, as the company plans to move away from diesel and gasoline drivetrains in favor of environmentally friendly vehicles. And put the Dieselgate scandal behind them.