Audi officials announced that the company is working on a new battery electric SUV for 2018, with an estimated range of 300 miles.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of Audi’s board of management for Technical Development, talked about Audi’s current and upcoming technologies at the company’s annual meeting.

“2014 was the year of technical milestones, tests and records,” said Hackenberg.

Among Audi’s recent developments is the company’s prototype fuel cell vehicle, the A7 h-tron quattro, and the Avant wagon (pictured above with Hackenberg). This concept vehicle combines a diesel engine with an electric motor to create its hybrid powertrain.

SEE ALSO: Audi Concept Wagon Is A Diesel Hybrid

The new SUV, which is still unnamed, will be all-electric. It’s a platform that’s in line with Audi’s long-term goals: to “systematically electrify the drive trains of its entire model portfolio.”

During his speech, Hackenberg gave a few details about what to expect from the all-electric SUV.

“In early 2018, we will launch a battery-powered sports activity vehicle in the large premium segment with a range of more than 500 kilometers (310.7 miles).

Granted this is a generous Euro cycle range estimate. Earlier reports of an A6-based electric SUV in development had a range estimate as high as 435 miles.

Beyond that, and allowing for the possibility Audi is keeping options open in a fluid market of ongoing R&D, Hackenberg continued on what Audi is now preparing for.

“It will have a new, very attractive design, which we are developing especially for the e-tron range and for battery-electric vehicles. This sports activity vehicle will be built on the second generation of the modular longitudinal platform (MLB 2) – our concept for optimal drivetrain diversity implementation. You will hear and see more of this before the end of the year.”

Analysts are expecting the SUV to fall into Audi’s Q6 line, which is the sportier segment of the luxury brand.

“If I see from the engineering side, a Q is probably not the best solution for an electric car with a large range because it has large surfaces and high aerodynamic resistance,” said Hackenberg.

“But if you ask the sales people, everything has to be Q!”

Hackenberg also spoke about the advances in technology that continue to improve electrified vehicles.

“We started with a 25 Ampere hour (Ah) battery, now we have 28 Ah, we have 37 Ah samples for the next-generation of PHEVs and in this big EV I have talked about we will also have a battery capacity of 37 Ah.

“The next-generation has 41 Ah and then 50 Ah. We will see this increase by 2018 to around 2020. And we see that in the road map of the cell producers that there will be still higher capacities.”

Hackenberg talked about the correlation between the battery’s size and the vehicle’s range.

“If you look to the package of the e-Golf, it’s able to run 180 km in the test cycle and that’s with a 25 Ah battery, if you have a 50 Ah battery you can increase range to more than 300 km, which makes things interesting.

“If you take a bigger car, like we are doing, then it should be possible to use a 90 kilowatt-hours battery, which is enough to satisfy most demands of a customer.”

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