Audi Q8 e-tron: New name on the cards as part of 2022 facelift for e-tron
The Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback SUVs are expected to get significant range and charging updates as part of a 2022 facelift; camouflaged prototypes hint at styling refresh
The Audi e-tron, Audi's first fully electric production car, is set for a mid-life update towards the end of 2022. Now, German media reports are suggesting that the range-topping SUV will be renamed Q8 e-tron at the same time, to bring its naming in line with the rest of the marque’s expanding electric range.
The naming tweak could also help distinguish the car from the other 'e-tron' models that have been introduced since the luxury SUV arrived in 2018, as well as others on the way, such as the Q6 e-tron. The Q8 e-tron moniker was previously rumoured for the current model’s successor, due in 2026, but it now seems that has been brought forward.
Official details remain thin on the ground in regards to what we can expect from the refreshed e-tron and e-tron Sportback, however, Audi’s board member for technical development, Oliver Hoffman, revealed to DrivingElectric in 2021 that the BMW iX rival will receive significant updates to its electronics and battery as part of the update.
He said: “The e-tron really is a special car for Audi, because it was really the pioneer of electric mobility for us. So it’s important to keep the car fresh, and therefore we are developing a big update in terms of range and charging time.”
Hoffman declined to discuss specific figures, but we expect a more energy-dense battery could push maximum capacity to more than 100kWh. This, combined with increased efficiency from the electric motors, could mean a superior range figure to the e-tron’s current 254-mile maximum. A range of comfortably more than 300 miles would also make the Audi competitive against the likes of the latest Tesla Model X and BMW iX.
The facelifted e-tron isn’t likely to boast the same 350kW ultra-rapid charging capability as the forthcoming Q6 e-tron, as this requires an 800-volt electrical system that isn’t part of the e-tron’s mechanical platform. But we expect an increase over the 155kW speed the current version can reach.
A prototype version of the revised e-tron has been spotted testing on public roads twice – once in Germany and once in wintry conditions in Sweden. Styling changes aren't expected to be radical, but will apply to both the standard e-tron SUV and the sleeker Sportback coupe. A new headlight and grille treatment is anticipated to bring the e-tron's looks into line with the newer Q4 e-tron. There are likely to be updates inside, too, with the current model's two separate screens expected to be combined into one large touchscreen interface extending across the dashboard.
The updated e-tron will continue to sit on a version of VW Group's MLB mechanical platform, which is shared with combustion-engined models such as the Audi Q7 and Q8. A move to a dedicated electric-vehicle platform is expected to happen when the second-generation version arrives in 2026.
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