Overseas, the Volkswagen Group has several electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid models on the market, but in the U.S. the portfolio is limited to the Volkswagen e-Golf and, soon enough, the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid. This situation will change in the coming years. In fact, as Audi America president Scott Keogh told members of the press at the Los Angeles Auto Show, as much as 25% of Audi sales in the U.S. will come from electric models by 2025.
Keogh detailed the brand’s plans in Audi’s LA showcase, and they involved a push in better charging infrastructure as well as vehicles like the A3 Sportback e-tron wagon and the e-tron quattro SUV concept on display. Capable of 300 miles on a single charge and packing nearly 600 pounds-feet of torque, the electric SUV concept is the closest thing we have seen to a Tesla (specifically, the Model X) to date. Audi says it will be in dealerships by early 2018.
By then, the automaker hopes to have a “150 kilowatt fast charging network” in full swing for U.S. consumers. According to a company statement, this charging system would deliver 200 miles of charge to an e-tron quattro in about 30 minutes.
“With the cars on this stage – the Audi A3 e-tron hybrid plug-in and the Audi e-tron quattro electric SUV – we are, in full force, joining the electric revolution,” Keogh told the audience in LA. “Now is the time to make electric driving more available to the mainstream.”
Though “mainstream” may be taken with a grain of salt with a creation like the e-tron quattro, the A3 Sportback e-tron now headed to U.S. dealerships does have the potential to reach a wide audience.
The A3 PHEV can cover 16 miles in electric mode, so consumers can get that overnight in most standard wall outlets if they want to keep the gas-free miles coming. However, the automaker is showing how seriously it will take electric vehicles by including a free Level 2 (240v) home charger with every model it sells in America. Through a collaboration with SunPower, Audi is also offering buyers a deal on solar power to make every one of those miles emissions-free.
This appealing package comes at $37,900 before incentives for the variant of a popular A3 model, so it’s safe to say Audi is playing hardball with its electric vehicle debut in the U.S. Seeing the company wants to desperately shift the narrative away from any talk of diesel cars, this strategy makes sense on several levels.
There is nearly a decade for these plans to fall into place. When the A3 plug-in hybrid lands at nearly all of the 210 Audi dealerships in America, the luxury brand can start measuring the formula’s appeal. By the time the e-tron quattro lands several years later, it should have the infrastructure in place to compete on a broader scale. Maybe 25% EVs is not so lofty a goal after all.