The update aims to extend the shelf life of the flagship siblings until at least 2025, when they are expected to be replaced with a brand new SUV, possibly called the Q8 E-tron.
With the new battery, the E-trons are intended to receive more efficient electric motors and an improved electronic system that will allow greater energy recovery among other improved functions.
Autocar has been told by sources inside Audi that the powertrain upgrades will increase range to over 373 miles for both variants. For comparison, the 95 kWh battery currently in use offers a maximum range of 249 miles.
The first two models in a growing line of electric Audi models, the E-tron and the E-tron Sportback, were introduced in the UK in 2019 and 2020 respectively. They’re based on a modified version of Audi’s MLB architecture, which was originally developed for ICE cars, making them inherently more compromised than a creation entirely specific to electric vehicles.
The mid-life upgrade of SUVs is planned despite the imminent arrival of the Q6 E-tron, which is based on the new EPI platform specific to electric vehicles that was developed in an engineering joint venture between Audi and Porsche.
“There will be a facelift for the E-tron SUV and the E-tron Sportback,” a senior Audi official told Autocar. “They will both be significantly improved with a number of technical updates that will further increase their competitiveness. “
Following confirmation of the new Q6 E-tron at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, it was suggested that it could replace the E-tron and E-tron Sportback. However, while the Q6 E-tron will also offer Sportback SUV and Coupe-inspired body styles, it is described as being smaller than the current flagship E-tron pairing.
“The Q6 E-tron will compete in a different market segment than the E-tron and E-tron Sportback,” our source said. “It’s smaller – about the size of the [conventionally powered] Q5. However, the dedicated platform will allow it to offer interior and charging space similar to today’s Q7.
The source added that the Q6 E-tron, which is being developed in parallel with the next generation electric Porsche Macan, is expected to launch in 2023.
Before the arrival of the Q6 E-tron, Audi plans to market another electric SUV, but exclusively in China. A seven-seater sister of the Volkswagen ID 6 (which is also specific to China), it will be based on the MEB platform.
This second MEB-based Audi model, after the smaller Q4 E-tron, will initially be produced at the Audi-SAIC joint venture’s plant in Shanghai, China.
Plans also call for it to be produced at the Audi-FAW joint venture site in Changchun, but not until 2023.
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