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Nov 29, 2018

Audi's e-Tron GT targets Tesla on a Porsche Taycan platform

Volvo Cars CEO Warns Trade Spat Will Cause Loss of Jobs

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This week in a vacant lot next to the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, Audi got Robert Downey Jr. dancing.

And it wasn’t for the US$175,000 R8.  

The Iron Man star was hired to promote the debut of the Audi e-Tron GT Concept, the all-electric car Audi is building on the same platform as the much-hyped Porsche Taycan—the two cars will share 60 per cent of their components. Both vehicles represent parent company Volkswagen’s multipronged attack on Tesla’s electric-market dominance.

“Sharing is good, right?” said newly appointed Audi of America President Mark Del Rosso. This was the first big public appearance for Del Rosso, the former Bentley Motors chief executive officer, who officially takes over as head of Audi in the U.S. on Dec. 1.

The 590-horsepower four-door “coupe” is the latest all-electric offering from Audi, which unveiled the e-Tron SUV in September and the PB18 e-Tron supercar a few weeks before that. An Audi e-Tron Sportback will come next in the lineup. “By 2025, 30 per cent of our volume will be electric,” Del Rosso said.

Despite the casual atmosphere of taco and slider food carts and mixed drinks, Audi executives remained mostly mum about details of the electric coupe.

But they did say that it will have a 100-kWh battery pack, a 248-mile range, and a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. It will be able to charge to 80 per cent battery strength in 20 minutes.

From the exterior, the concept vehicle already looks production ready, with body-style overtones and a roofline like the new Audi A7. The large battery pack sits in the bottom of the car, which will ride lower than an S7. With its square nose, stubby rear end, and graphic daytime running lights, it looks ready to hunker down and hustle. Inside, the seats were lined with fabric made from recycled fibers.

“A changing world needs beauty and intelligence in order to propel itself forward,” Del Rosso said. The saxophone player for Pink Floyd walked by; Kraftwerk played in the background. “This is part of our evolution.”

The Audi e-Tron GT will go on sale in the second quarter of 2019, with deliveries beginning by 2020.