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Audi has announced it will offer a “more affordable” version of its all-electric SUV, the e-tron 50 Quattro.

Joining the European carmaker’s first fully electric vehicle, the e-tron 55 Quattro which is expected to arrive in Australia in the third quarter of 2019, the Audi e-tron 50 Quattro will still feature two electric motors for an all-wheel drive experience.

Instead of the 95kWh battery of the 55 Quattro model, which Audi says is rated for 400km range (although its real world range may be considerably less, according to the EPA), the newer 50 Quattro will have a 71kWh battery with 300km range based on the European WLTP testing cycle.

Power delivered from the base model’s two motors will peak at 230kW (down from the 265kW offered by the 55 Quattro), and a slightly slower top charging rate of 120kW (the 55 Quattro can do 150kW max) will be possible.

Although slower to charge than the 55 Quattro, this will still allow for the base model’s battery to be charged from 0-80% in as little as half an hour at a DC rapid-charging station (charging times would of course be slower at 50kW fast-chargers).

On three-phase power, it will be able to achieve charging speeds of up to 11kW, and will be available with an optional at-home charging system later in the year to deliver charging at off-peak rates.

While Audi is touting the launch of the “entry-level” 50 Quattro as bringing the “first fully electric Audi within easier reach”, it will still sit in the premium end of the electric car market.

Although official pricing for the e-tron 55 Quattro has not yet been released for Australia, in the UK it has a starting price of £71,520 ($A127,572 at today’s rates), and it is expected that the smaller battery of the 50 Quattro may bring it in at around £10,000 (approximately $A18,000 less converted).

Although asking premium prices, both look to be great additions to the electric car market. Audi have never pretended to be in the game of “mass-market” electric cars – that job goes to fellow automakers under parent auto group Volkswagen AG banner such as VW and Spanish carmaker Seat.

Instead, Audi wants to deliver “characteristic high efficiency and strong performance”, as it has taken pains to demonstrate in antics such as sending it up the legendary Mausefalle ski slope in Austria.

For now it seems the 50 Quattro will only be offered in the UK – we have contacted Audi Australia for comment on availability in Australia.

Full specs include:

  • 71 kWh battery pack (324 prismatic cells combined in 27 modules)
  • 186 miles (299 km) of WLTP range
  • 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.0 seconds
  • Top speed of 190 km/h (118 mph)
  • All-wheel drive, dual motor
  • System output of 230 kW and 540 Nm
  • DC fast charging capability in 30 minutes (at up to 120 kW)
  • AC charging from 2.3 kW (single-phase) to 11 kW (three-phase)

Both the e-tron 55 Quattro and e-tron 50 Quattro form Audi’s contribution to Volkswagen AG’s effort to redeem itself in the wake of the “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015, with now 70 electric models promised across the auto group’s brand, 20 of which are to be realised by Audi.

The electric SUVs will so far also be joined by an electric A4 sedan, and an electric Q2 compact crossover, with Audi CEO Bram Schott declaring that within 12 months Audi will be selling one million electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles a year.

With €14 billion ($A23 billion) slated for investment by Audi into electric mobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving in the next four years, the company’s overall projected expenditure for the next five years will be around €40 billion ($65 billion).

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