Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept Previews Audi Electric SUV: 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show| Edmunds

Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept Previews Audi Electric SUV: 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

INGOLSTADT, Germany — The Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept, which previews an all-electric SUV bound for Audi dealerships in 2018, will debut next month at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The as-yet-unnamed production version of the electric SUV, dubbed the "Audi Q6" by the media, heralds a new era for the German brand as it is poised to make significant inroads into the electric-vehicle market. The electric SUV will be Audi's first volume EV.

"It's not every day you have a fully electric vehicle with Quattro," said Mark Dahncke, an Audi spokesman, in a phone conversation with Edmunds on Wednesday.

Quattro is Audi's term for all-wheel drive.

Dahncke added: "Historically, we have been pretty good about our concept cars. They are not pie-in-the-sky. The concepts are close to production."

The electric SUV will have a range of more than 310 miles and compete with the 2016 Tesla Model X midsize SUV. It slots in between the Audi Q5 and Audi Q7 SUVs in terms of size and seats four passengers.

The SUV will be powered by three electric motors — one on the front axle and two on the rear axle. A large lithium-ion battery is positioned between the axles and below the passenger compartment. Audi said this installation gives the car better driving dynamics and driving safety.

In addition, the electric SUV features movable aerodynamic elements at the front, rear and sides to improve airflow around the vehicle and boost range.

Dahncke said he could not confirm speculation that the electric SUV is expected to develop 500 horsepower and 571 pound-feet of torque.

The production version of the concept does not have a model-year designation yet. Pricing is not available at this point.

Audi dealers in the U.S. are already laying the groundwork for Audi's foray into EVs. Dahncke noted they are setting up the infrastructure that will enable customers to charge their vehicles and have them serviced by trained technicians.

"The entire dealer network is on board," Dahncke said.

Some of that dealership charging network will be ready for the debut of the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron plug-in hybrid, which will arrive at dealerships in all 50 states by November. It is priced at $38,825, including a $925 destination charge.

Edmunds says: The electric Audi SUV is one of the most important vehicle debuts at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, as it signals a significant new direction for the German luxury brand.

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