Casting a Wider Net: Audi’s EV Push Won’t Ignore the Entry-level Crowd

Audi plans to make a green new deal with premium-minded buyers of limited means. With the brand’s Volkswagen Group parent going all-in on electric vehicles, Audi has access to whatever it needs from mama’s parts bin. This will come in handy.

It seems a cheaper, smaller EV is Audi’s next big reveal, with the Golf-sized I.D. Neo hatch serving as a starting point for a new entry-level electric.

Having already shown off the pricier E-Tron midsize SUV, its Sportback sibling, and a GT concept strongly hinting at a future four-door “coupe,” Audi is turning its mind to the low end of the premium market. Underpinning the smaller vehicle would be VW’s dedicated MEB electric architecture.

According to Automotive News Europe, Audi confirmed its plans to debut a “premium compact SUV concept” at next month’s Geneva Motor Show, one which borrows VW’s MEB bones. Thanks to economies of scale, VW Group believes it’s capable of offering a multitude of EV in various segments with only a modest markup over comparable internal combustion vehicles.

The concept bound for Geneva is reportedly a close match to a production model slated for a late-2020 launch. Deliveries should begin in early 2021, by which time the larger Audi EVs (and those of its rivals) will have had time to reach buyers and normalize the idea of a fully-electric German luxury vehicle from a mainstream brand. Production will occur alongside the I.D. Neo at VW’s Zwickau plant.

Earlier reports claim the unnamed Audi will arrive with a footprint similar to that of the Q3 crossover. Expect a rear-drive setup in single-motor guise, all-wheel drive with twin propulsion units.

As early specs for the I.D. Neo claim 181 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of instant torque, the cheapest Audi EV should mirror these figures. While driving range depends on battery size decisions Audi hasn’t yet revealed, industry sentiment states 200 miles should be the absolute minimum.

The first MEB-based vehicle enters service in Europe early next year, with numerous models to follow. Audi’s E-Tron SUV goes on sale later this year.

[Image: Audi AG]

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