Audi, Mercedes ready challenges to Tesla luxury electric car dominance – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Audi plans to challenge Tesla’s dominance of the luxury electric vehicle market when it introduces a sport-utility vehicle at the Frankfurt, Germany auto show next month.

Called the Audi e-tron quattro, the sporty SUV concept auto will provide the first look at the luxury brand’s plans for fully electric cars. Audi, a division of Volkswagen, is expected to produce an electric SUV based on the concept starting in 2018.

Audi already makes plug-in hybrids, which run on electric power alone for a certain range until a gasoline engine kicks in.

The Audi will compete directly with Tesla’s Model X, which is just going into production at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif. The first deliveries are expected next month, said Elon Musk, chief executive of the Palo Alto automaker.

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Automakers have watched Tesla carve out a luxury electric car niche and are preparing their own entries, said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at Gartner Inc.

“You are going to see some interesting stuff happening as the traditional automakers get into this,” he said.

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