There is no denying that electric cars are the future of commuting. In fact, they are gaining popularity already with such cars as Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. However, there are still many problems left to solve in order to make people get out of their fossil fuel powered vehicles and step into noiseless electric cars. They are expensive, take a long time to charge and range is usually limited to only short commuting around city. However, Audi is making steps to change it.
German luxury car brand Audi announced partnership with two high tech companies from South Korea, LG Chem and Samsung SDI. These companies are going to invest in European battery cell production for Audi electric cars of the future. It looks like Audi is looking very seriously at this relatively new segment of luxury cars, currently dominated by American Tesla brand, and wants to create the most advanced electric cars on the market.
Furthermore, since currently SUV’s and crossovers are very trendy, Audi aims to create electric car of this type of body, which is usually heavier and therefore has higher fuel consumption. However, it seems that range should not be a problem.
Audi is planning to develop new batteries specifically designed to be used in company’s sport utility vehicle, using powerful cell modules from two South Korean suppliers mentioned above. However, these cell modules will be manufactured and new battery technologies will be developed in Europe.
Although it is probably in order to keep costs low, it will create new job opportunities and will allow for effective competition with competing American brand. And although these plans were just recently announced, German car manufacturer is already predicting impressive range for their new electric SUV. Company claims, that this car, using latest battery technology, will be able to travel more than 500 kilometres on a single charge, which would make it the most capable electric car of that size.
Tesla is also preparing to start selling their new SUV, called Model X. Besides its many interesting features, such as modern design similar to very successful Model S, futuristic rear door design and interior layout, Model X should also have impressive range from 270 to 365 kilometres. Some claims suggest car will be able to travel over 400 kilometres on a single charge. However, all of these claims are significantly smaller than Audi’s promised 500 kilometre range. However, Model X offers sports car performance which may or may not be achieved by Audi.
Character of the car will not be forgotten by German manufacturer either. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Development, said – “With our first battery‑electric Audi‑SUV, we are combining an emission‑free drive system with driving pleasure. We will optimally integrate the innovative cell modules developed with LG Chem and Samsung SDI into our vehicle architecture, thus achieving an attractive overall package of sportiness and range.” All these efforts and latest technologies should make electric cars more attractive for customers, but it is unlikely that it will revolutionize our look to the cars and we are most likely to continue using fossil fuel powered vehicles every day.
News like this show that competition is starting in the field of electric cars. It may eventually lower prices of these vehicles and make them affordable for masses. However, we will wait and see what car Audi will introduce and if new battery technologies will deliver promised range and sportiness.