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Audi’s EV Chief: “I hate to admit it, but Tesla did everything right”


Audi’s electric-mobility chief Stefan Niemand had surprising words of appreciation for Tesla at the recent Technical Congress of Germany’s automotive industry organization (VDA) (via EETimes). Niemand commented:

“I hate to admit it, but Tesla did everything right”

The executive was especially praising Tesla’s EV infrastructure strategy: the Supercharger network. He also made the comment not long after the first Tesla Model X in Europe was spotted near Audi’s headquarters.

The car was spotted near Ingolstadt, where Audi’s headquarters are located. It has an Ingolstadt license plate number, meaning it was registered in the city and Tesla doesn’t have a facility in Ingolstadt.

It wouldn’t be surprising that Audi imported the vehicle to Germany for benchmarking or reverse-engineering, something they already did with the Tesla Model S.

Audi’s first significant entry in the all-electric market will be the e-tron quattro (picture above) in 2018. Considering it will be a long-range all-electric luxury SUV, it is expected to compete with Tesla’s Model X launched last year.

There’s already a little competition between the two vehicles even though there will be about 3 years between their launches. When Audi unveiled the quattro concept, it boasted that the vehicle was the “most aerodynamic SUV ever made”, but that didn’t last long. A few weeks later, Tesla unveiled the production version of the Model X, which achieved a 0.24 drag coefficient, and outperformed the quattro’s 0.25.

Nonetheless, Audi is serious about bringing the quattro to market and it is investing in building the SUV in “large series production” at the company’s plant in Brussels.

Audi expects the e-tron quattro to have a “range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles)” on a 95 kWh battery pack. It’s important to consider that Audi is based in Germany, meaning that they mostly based their range on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which is known to be less restrictive than the EPA standard. For example, Tesla’s Model S 85D was getting 270 EPA-rated miles in the US, but 330 NEDC-rated miles in Europe.

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  1. freedomev - 7 years ago

    Admitting the facts are the first step to solving the problem. But by then what new will Tesla have?
    And a 310mile European range is more like 200 miles US ratings so it won’t beat the X anyway.
    And it’ll have to compete with the T3.
    The problem is they have to order the batteries 2 yrs in advance and I bet they don’t order enough for any real numbers at all.
    As a performance company they should make innovative EVs by making them light, aero in real life lowering their costs , not just on paper. No real reason they can’t get .20cd.

    • florinnica - 7 years ago

      I don’t mean to be disrespectful in any way, but I don’t think I understand what you mean by “No real reason they can’t get .20cd”. My confusion is mostly caused by being able to think of several real reasons why you can’t get that low.

      Again, I really don’t mean to be disrespectful. I am genuinely interested in hearing your honest opinion on this 🙂 Thanks!

      • Trevor - 7 years ago

        The problem with light materials that are strong is they cost a fortune to make a car out of

  2. Darko - 7 years ago

    Of course all of that is possible for the Audi team, you just need the will to do it. They could also copy all Tesla patents and do it years ago.

  3. jednoucelovy - 7 years ago

    Audi is too autistic to ever become a serious EV producer.

    • Walt - 7 years ago

      You mean “Audistic”? ok, I’ll show myself out

  4. Raymond Winn - 7 years ago

    Just from the looks of that hideous Audi grille, I’d agree with Mr Niemand – Tesla got the styling right, for sure.

  5. eesny - 7 years ago

    Audi needs to cut a deal to partner on Supercharging – or that car will just be a high priced curiosity.

  6. T.Mabolloane - 7 years ago

    I would like to say this is the cheapest way of using this cars because now the worldwide is running out of natural resources such as petrol,which are essential for the progress,I really appreciate this method, keep it up.

  7. Gaute - 7 years ago

    Range bestemmes først og fremst av kWh batteri og vekt på kjøretøy. Luftmotstand i Norge er av litt mindre betydning.

    • František Kubiš Jr. - 7 years ago

      that is because you are driving slow. If driven fast, air resistance has much higher importance than weight. You can see Tesla Model S charts for that.


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