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Published on August 15th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


500-Kilometer All-Electric Audi SUV Will Use LG Chem + Samsung SDI Battery Cells

August 15th, 2015 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Utilizing battery cells from LG Chem as well as Samsung SDI, Audi has announced that it is planning to produce a fully electric SUV with 311 miles (500 kilometers) of range. If that wasn’t enough to get you sitting up much straighter in your chair, Audi says that it will actually be putting the battery modules together itself.

Audi Q7

Audi Q7

I think this clearly puts Audi (and mother company Volkswagen) up there with just a few other automakers for its seriousness when it comes to electrification. Aside from Tesla, only General Motors (GM) has announced a long-range all-electric model, the Chevy Bolt. Nissan has made it clear that it is soon going to announce one as well, though. Volkswagen hinted at it a couple of times, but it has been the most vague of the few automakers mixing the terms or concepts “long-range” and “all-electric.”

Considering that it will be an SUV and will have 311 miles of range, far more than the 200 miles that other “long-range” electric vehicles are targeting (i.e., the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and a long-range Nissan), I’m guessing Audi is going to price this in the premium category. Presumably, it won’t go so high as to “compete” with the Model X — who can compete with the falcon-wing doors, “spectacular” second-row seats, and Tesla performance? So, my guess is that it will either be priced a bit lower… or will simply sit on the lower end of the sales tables.


While this is big news, it’s also vague news. Audi hasn’t provided a date for launch of this vehicle, and previous announcement have noted it would be sometime in 2018, three years from now. Nonetheless, it is still a bit exciting to see Audi stating that it will be the one putting together its battery modules, and officially announcing an impressive 311 miles of range (of course, what it actually pinpointed was the very round number of 500 kilometers).

“Together with our South Korean development partners, we are bringing production of the latest battery‑cell technology to the EU and strengthening European industry with this key technology,” stated Dr. Bernd Martens, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Procurement. The cell modules are to offer particularly high performance. “This will allow us to supply a technological solution that makes electric cars even more attractive for our customers.”

“With our first battery‑electric Audi‑SUV, we are combining an emission‑free drive system with driving pleasure,” said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Development. “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.”

Great news? I’m counting it as such.

Image by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • eveee

    If Audi is using the present batteries with lower energy densities, higher weight, volume, and cost than Tesla, and looking at the non aerodynamics of that vehicle, I am not too hopeful.
    Don’t look now, but a model S is pretty heavy, pushing nearly 5000 pounds. Model X is likely at least that heavy. Expect more.
    This design looks like it will result in a heavier, less efficient SUV.
    And expensive, too.

  • Steven Ford

    Who will do the first all electric PROPER off roader? There is an as yet untapped market for a functional utility.

    • nakedChimp

      How far do you want to go off-road?
      I get the part of the max torque at 0rpm as holy grail for rock crawlers.. but where to recharge?

      • Steven Ford

        I’m thinking of farmers, forestry types, vets, builders, utilities – so home after work and recharge there.

        Military and long distance explorers would need large unrollable PV panels – I imagine.

  • Dragon

    Time frame? Cost? Battery size? Features? Who cares! I’m just happy that someone is finally combining an emission‑free drive system with driving pleasure!

    • Ken

      Finally? Tesla has been doing this for over 6 years.

  • Philip W

    Few days ago there was a german documentary called “the fairytale of electric mobility” released. It showed how the german automakers just don’t care about electric cars and don’t want to make them. I’m pretty optimistic most of the time, but this made me quite depressed. It’s really really bad.

    Who happens to understand german, can watch it here:

    • nakedChimp

      calm down, typical ARD documentary for people not used to the realm and highlighting that German Car Manufacturers are asleep at the wheel and only produce what currently are cash-cows.
      There is no financial support of the kind car buyers get in California, China or Norway for German car buyers.. so why should they bother?
      The other thing is batteries and drive trains.. this will come completely out of Asia within the next 10-20 years where the future markets are and probably the remainder of the car was well.
      Don’t wait on BMW, VW or Mercedes in Germany.

      • Larmion

        German car manufacturers are certainly NOT asleep at the wheel. BMW’s i-series sells extremely well and got rave reviews. Volkswagen’s eGolf now leads in several major car markets, including Norway.

        Germany is still paying through the nose for the first wave of solar FiT’s, which were extremely expensive but single-handedly established the mass solar market that drove costs down for the rest of the world. A decade before that, they did something similar with wind (though that was less outrageously expensive at first).

        It’s about time that other countries did their share by boosting the next wave of clean technology. Let the California’s of this world, which rode on the coattails of Germany, pay for something too.

        • nakedChimp

          You put it pretty eloquently what a part of my stomach is telling me but I din’t write (I was born in Germany and lived there until I was 30) – it somehow feels a bit like that, that the ‘greater German consciousness’ doesn’t want to be the early adapter yet again.. but I’ve also witnessed enough of the stuff-ups going on over there at helms of companies that I’m pretty confident the ‘asleep at the wheel’ part will be 30-40% truth and that somehow some engineering departments had some leash to run without supervision by bean counters.. 😉

      • Philip W

        There are enough germans that want to buy electric cars. But german automakers keep prices artificially high and produce only a small amount.
        Have you seen the documentary? The club featured in there ordered 8 smart ED and only got 3. Why? They stopped producing them so they could produce more ICE cars. And friends of mine had the same stuff happen. So there is obviously demand that they don’t want to satisfy.

        • Larmion

          If the Smart ED was succesful enough to break even, they wouldn’t have cancelled it. But it has been tailing EV sales stats for years, as you can see on this site.

          That there is some demand for a vehicle is not a sufficient reason to continue producing it. There needs to be so much demand that the vehicle is profitable, or at least reaches break-even. So far, even Nissan and Tesla haven’t quite managed that despite their vastly greater sales volume.

          • Philip W

            Do you have information this is the reason for cancellation?

          • nakedChimp

            Daimler gave the reason in the mail which the reporters show us where it is stated that:
            – the electric drivetrain is out of production
            – the model won’t be produced until 2016 again
            – current lines are used for ICE Smarts solely, not partly for EV smarts (lines where shared)

        • nakedChimp

          I was able to stand 10 minutes of it, so yes, I’ve seen the part where the ASB purchased 8 and got only 3 delivered and the remainder will be made once the lines will produce less of the ICE vehicles, which currently are in more demand.. that’s why I said, asleep at the wheel and selling cash cows now.

    • Larmion

      And yet two of the best selling and best received EV’s are mady by German manufacturers: the BMW i3 and the e-Golf. Oh, and for what’s it’s worth: even Jeremy Clarkson loves the BMW i-series.

      • Philip W

        And yet they are still fucking expensive. And they are priced that way deliberately. Development ofcourse payed by us – the german citizens.

        • Larmion

          Out of interest, I looked up prices for an eGolf on VW’s German site. Guess what? No more expensive than elsewhere in Europe, usually quite a bit cheaper actually.

          And if you compare the BMW i3 and VW eGolf’s price with that of competing EV’s, it’s right where it ought to be (higher than the less well equiped Zoe/LEAF but below that of a Tesla or Outlander).

          EV’s are ‘fucking expensive’. German ones no more so than others. But of course, that high upfront cost is offset by lower fuel and maintenance costs – assuming you are a frequent driver.

          • Philip W

            I paid for development. In my opinion it’s not too much too ask to make it a bit cheaper because of that, even it will take a bit longer to make that car profitable.
            But wait, then all those stockholders wouldn’t be happy anymore, and the automakers wouldn’t make billions and billions of profit.

            Let’s face it, there doing stuff which is good, but they are doing only as much as they are required to do. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon, because they make way too much money with explosion engine cars.

          • StefanoR99

            Bottom line is that EVs are far simpler to make over traditional combustion engine. The parts count must be around 1000 pieces less, maybe more.

            Switching over to EVs is going to impact a lot of industry, something which Germany is heavily vested in. If BMW / Daimler / VW group switched over to EV tomorrow it’s going to put thousands of well paid people in Germany out of work.

            It’s a political suicide, unions don’t want it, oil companies don’t want it, dealers don’t want it, mechanics don’t want it.

          • Philip W

            That’s why Germany is supporting the industry to create jobs that last after the transition, for example they gave 30mio € for a battery factory to Daimler. But Daimler is obviously not interested in creating those jobs since they now close that battery factory down.
            Yeah it’s gonna be tough for the industry. but that’s why they need to start preparing themsevles now and not in a few years when it’s too late. The transition is going to happen, with or without german manufacturers.

      • Ken

        The BMW i3 is a sales failure. It is way behind in tech and much too expensive for what it does.

        From Torque News: When a multinational car company like BMW spends three to four years and three cars to perfect its electric car offering, why are sales so pathetic?

        From Inside EVs: 5 Reasons Why BMW i3 Is Not A Sales Success In Germany

        The Tesla has outsold it by more than 2 to 1 (and sometimes 5 to 1) which should not be happening since the Tesla costs more than twice as much.

        It is a compliance car that shows how out of touch BMW is with what people want. They have dragged their feet on long range EVs and will continue to pay a price for that. Tesla all outsells BMW’s flagship gasoline 7 series in the US.

  • jeffhre

    Great! Welcome to the marketplace. Bring it on, (before 2018!).

  • Foersom

    I think it sounds exciting. Apparently the current A3 E-tron sells well, so they are confirming that they will make full BEV. Think about the alternatives, better that BEV than some fuel-cell car.

    • I test drove the A3 e-tron today. Not impressed. Basically, I’ve realized PHEVs simply don’t compare to 100% electrics. Good stepping stone for those who need it, I guess, but doesn’t really reveal the awesomeness of electric drive. So… I’m super happy to see Audi is planning to produce a genuine *and* long-range electric vehicle!

  • Defendor

    Without qualification. 500KM range is likely NEDC rating.

    So it will likely be more like 240 miles EPA range.

    That is if/when it gets built.

    Audi is also the king of EV vapor announcements.

    • DecksUpMySleeve

      I’d guess 220 miles EPA myself.

  • jonesey

    500 km of range in 2018 sounds about right. A high-priced SUV without that kind of range three years from now will be behind the market. I hope.

  • Pluk

    Yawn… With Audi we are probably looking at a launch in 2030 – 35. Most people will be driving Teslas by then.

    • StefanoR99

      Yep, Audi are the king of EV vaporware. Most likely the 2018 date is a ruse to try to get people to wait rather than buy a model X. Once those customers have gone to Tesla they are essentially gone forever – Audi, BMW and Mercedes are waking up to that fact but not quick enough to get product on the ground.

      • eveee

        You have a point. Its not as if we have never seen the tactic of using a pre announcement to quash competitor sales before. If so, Audi deserves lumps for such a stupid ploy. Anyway, it won’t work with Tesla. Or I might say it will work as well as GMs lackluster marketing hyped ELR did.

  • wattleberry

    Maybe they’re contemplating some option of governing the performance to achieve the range? To me, that looks increasingly like the sort of trade-off we may expect in future, given the insane and dangerous levels of performance routinely available from electric traction.
    It would be interesting to know, if such data were available, what the Tesla’s range could become if governed, or does it already presuppose a light foot ?

    • Bob_Wallace

      I suspect control will be left to the individual driver. If you’re taking a longer trip and want to avoid charging along the way then you will drive more conservatively.

      • Brooks Bridges

        I’ve wondered this before: Would putting a smaller electric motor that, with pedal to the metal would “only” accelerate a given Tesla model 0-60 in 10 seconds, guarantee a significantly longer range from a given battery pack and comparable test conditions than with its currently much more powerful motor? One more condition: Driver of more powerful motor never accelerates faster than 0-60 in 10 seconds.

        Or can a larger electric motor “sip” electricity as well as a small one?

        My wife has a Mini-Cooper with 0-60 around 6 seconds – we (I) use that about once a year. But even in normal driving, having the higher acceleration capability translates into accelerating faster than really needed more often.

  • JamesWimberley

    Where did Ferdinand Piëch, the Big Man former boss of the VW group ousted in a boardroom battle in April, stand on evs? The pace at VW seems to have picked up since he left.

    • Martin

      Well anytime somebody is willing to build a straight EV, to me that is good news for our planet.
      The sooner we all get of the FF bandwagon the better!

    • Jacob

      Mr Winterkorn did not understand why Tesla is building a Gigafactory.

      So now maybe VW has men who are not stuck in the 20th century.

  • Jacob

    Typical dumbing down by Audi.

    “This ship is 4 football fields long”. “This crane weighs the same as 5 African elephants.”

    How many kWh is the battery.

    • Shane 2

      This is exciting. This has a longer range than any current production EV but all you can do is snipe. Exxon salutes you.

      • Larmion

        He’s right though.

        ‘500 km’ is utterly meaningless. In what conditions was this tested? On a perfectly straight road with fresh low resistance asphalt while driving at a constant speed with no other traffic? Or in real world traffic? The former would make it just above average in real world conditions, the latter would be nothing short of spectacular.

        If they would give more objective information like the battery capacity, we could at least make a reasonable guess of real range. Now we have an empty ‘up to’ statement.

        • Jacob

          We do not even need to guess.

          If the Tesla Model S has an 85kWh battery and it has a range of *** miles.

          Then the 90kWh battery in the Audi is slightly better. But not much better.

          Unless it is a 120kWh battery, then it is exciting.

          • Larmion

            Oh, it will always be a guess.

            Since the capacity of the battery pack is the largest single determinant of range, you can make a reasonable extrapolation. The problem is that there are plenty of other factors influencing range: weight, aerodynamics and agressiveness of the regenerative braking, to name just a few.

            All those collectively have a huge impact on the range of a car, so battery capacity alone can never provide more than a good guesstimate.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Need to factor in aerodynamics, weight, and efficiency of the rest of the electronics and drive train.

            There’s room for the Audi to be meaningfully better or worse than the Tesla.

          • Jacob

            I bet Samsung will happily supply to Tesla or anyone else. So it boils down to how many kWh is the battery.

        • Dan Hue

          Most informed opinions I have read about that suggest the range is on the NEDC cycle, and that the more realistic EPA cycle would yield something like 240 miles of range, which is in Tesla’s ballpark.

      • Joe Viocoe

        Exxon loves these kinds of boastful, over-hyped nonsense. They know, that the wilder the claims made and more promises broken… the more fanciful EVs seem to the public… and the slower the adoption.

    • JamesWimberley

      Personally I rather like the Fleet Street unit of volume, the “London bus” (88.7 cubic metres, if it’s an old Routemaster). At least it’s fairly easy to imagine.

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