Audi Plans Fully Electric Tesla Rival

audi p9 e-tron electric tesla
A concept rendering of an Audi A9 Prologue. This is likely to be the form Audi's A9 e-tron electric car will take. Creative Commons

Audi is planning to release an all-electric saloon with self-driving capabilities that will rival the Tesla Model S, according to reports.

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler told Autocar that he had given the go-ahead for a four-door electric car, expected to be called the A9 e-tron.

The German car manufacturer also has ambitious plans to make a quarter of its car lineup battery-powered within the next 10 years.

"By 2020 we will have three EVs in the lineup," Stadler said. "We'll start with the production version of the e-tron quattro concept car, which will have a range of up to 500km. By 2025, 25 percent of our lineup will be battery-driven models."

The A9 e-tron would follow Audi's plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron, the company's first electric vehicle offering.

The luxury saloon is expected to be powered by three electric motors and feature a large 95kWh battery that would give it a range of more than 300 miles.

According to Stefan Knirsch, Audi's head of research and development, the A9 e-tron's unique electric drive system will differentiate the vehicle from its rivals, like the Tesla Model S.

"Some rivals have gone for a synchronous motor with a high-power density but at relatively low revs," Knirsch said. "There are also asynchronous motors that typically achieve similar power outputs but at much higher revs.

"From 2018, our electric cars will be equipped with asynchronous motors. We are convinced they offer higher efficiency levels than synchronous motors."