Recently we met the e-tron, an electric SUV that Audi will launch on the market next year. Now meet its sexy cousin, the e-tron Sportback.

Unveiled in concept form at this week's Shanghai motor show, this sporty four-door SUV with a sleek roofline will go on sale in 2019 as Audi's second all-electric car. At 4.9 metres in length it's sized just below the Audi Q7, and the e-tron Sportback will give green-conscious motorists a planet-friendlier alternative to sexy SUVs like the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe.

"The e-tron Sportback is an emotional coupé version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance,” says Audi chairman Rupert Stadler.

The e-tron Sportback uses an electric quattro drive configuration that will also be adopted in future electric production Audis: one electric motor on the front axle and two on the rear power all four wheels. 

In Audi's world, going green needn't mean going lean in terms of performance or range. With a total output of 320kW the 0-100km/h sprint is dispatched in just 4.5 seconds, but even more impressive is the claimed driving range of over 500 kilometers which gives this electric Audi the same 'tank to tank' ability as combustion-engined cars.

The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is positioned between the axles below the passenger compartment, allowing a low centre of gravity for sportier driving dynamics.

The lights on this electric Audi are a high-tech feast. Arrays of digitally controlled Matrix LED lights at the front and rear are able to create complex animations that can 'welcome' occupants to the car when the doors are opened, and communicate with other road users (though a middle-finger salute to show to road hogs is probably not on the menu).

Small cameras replace the exterior mirrors to aid air flow and reduce wind noise, and also virtually eliminate blind spots. Also using cameras, the obstruction to the diagonal forward view is also eliminated, effectively creating 'see-through' A-pillars. The camera images are shown on separate displays in the doors. And this isn't all just to impress motor show visitors; this technology will make it into the production version.

Audi is one of several automakers gearing up for an electric-car future, and is involved with rival firms such as Ford, BMW and Daimler in setting up fast-charging networks for longer-range electric vehicles.

IOL Motoring

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