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The Audi E-Tron Sportback Is the Electric Car We’ve Always Wanted

04.24.17 | By
The Audi E-Tron Sportback Is the Electric Car We’ve Always Wanted
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Watch out Tesla, the road leading to an all-electric vehicle future is about to get a little more crowded. The Audi E-Tron Sportback concept rolled out as the belle of the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show ball, a near-realized concept vehicle designed to represent the German automaker’s EV plans for 2018 and beyond.

The electric fastback arrives with an aggressive posture sitting upon massive 23-inch alloys wheels, with specs to match: 496bhp and 590lb ft of torque, good for 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds performance, a very respectable range of 311 miles between charges, and a future forward “Virtual Cockpit” that replaces a traditional console design with tastefully executed touchscreen surfaces and haptic feedback throughout.

The E-Tron Sportback’s three electric motors are powered by a liquid cooled 95-kWh lithium-ion battery, good for 429 horsepower and a 311 mile range.

Our Audi E-Tron will be starting out in 2018 – the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use. Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback – an emotional coupé version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance. – Rupert Stadler, Audi Chairman.

The E-Tron Sportback’s future-forward intents are further exemplified by the car’s mirrors-less profile (replaced with digital cameras in concept, but likely to return in some form), the aforementioned Virtual Cockpit that even stretches to offer the passenger seat their own screen, and a projection system built into the E-Tron Sportback’s front fascia, engineered to project animations onto the road for both driver and pedestrian notifications.

“Narrow light strips on both sides below the front lid – the daytime running lights – become the eyes on the face of the study. Thanks to a combination of LEDs and a micromirror-studded surface plus complex control technology, a large number of animated movements and signatures are possible. When the e-tron Sportback starts and also when the doors are opened, the system uses switchable segments to generate dynamic visual welcome signals.”

We suspect the E-Tron Sportback will become a serious consideration amongst those considering switching over from gas to an EV models like the Tesla Model X as their next ride. But don’t fall in love too quickly with the Audi E-Tron Sportback quite yet. Although Audi plans to officially launch their E-Tron line sometime next year, the Sportback iteration won’t be officially out any sooner than 2019…perhaps enough time for more charging stations to be built to support the visions of an electric avenue infrastructure.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.