The electrification of the auto industry presents a conundrum for automakers transitioning legacy models from gas- and diesel-powered internal combustion engines to electric motors: what if the industry is ready before the customer is? In the case of the Audi A6, the brand says it’s planning on selling two versions: one gas and one electric, the latter of which is set to arrive for 2024 and bear the name A6 E-Tron.
Why Two Audi A6s?
Audi thinks some customers may not be ready (or able) to make the leap from gas to electric powertrains by the time the A6 E-Tron hits dealers. Audi cites today’s charging infrastructure as the main reason for this. While growing rapidly, today’s EV charging infrastructure still leaves much to be desired in some parts of the United States (and elsewhere on the globe).
The gas A6 will look a lot like today’s model. Although it’s likely to be updated by 2024, the current A6 is a fairly young car by Audi standard. It dates back to 2018 and was freshened just last year. Riding on Audi’s modern MLB Evo platform, the gas-powered A6 will likely continue to be available as a sedan and as a wagon (in the forms of the A6 Allroad and RS6 Avant). It’s probably a safe assumption that the current lineup of turbocharged I-4s and V-6s, as well as standard all-wheel drive, remains, though the future of the V-8-powered RS6 Avant is probably murky at best.
The electric version of the Audi A6 will look much like the loosely disguised A6 E-Tron Concept that was just revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show. The production A6 E-Tron will ride on the brand’s new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture, and it’ll be available in both single-motor rear-drive or dual-motor all-wheel-drive forms. The all-wheel-drive A6 E-Tron Concept makes 469 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and packs an estimated driving range of more than 300 miles. Charge speeds ought to be fast, too, with the A6 E-Tron initially supporting up to 270-kW DC fast charge speeds—20 kW more than Tesla’s V3 Superchargers.
Audi Q6 E-Tron Electric SUV Coming
Unlike Porsche’s J1 EV platform, which only underpins the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT, the new PPE platform isn’t just slated for just the A6 E-Tron. Co-developed with Porsche, PPE will end up underpinning every electric Audi, Bentley, and Porsche for the foreseeable future. While the A6 E-Tron Concept was the first to debut with the new platform, it’ll be beaten to market by the new 2023 Audi Q6 E-Tron electric SUV.
Details are still sparse on the Q6 E-Tron. Nevertheless, based on what Audi designers have done with the smaller Q4 E-Tron, the gas-powered Q5 Sportback, and the A6 E-Tron Concept, it seems likely that this sporty-looking SUV will have an aggressive (and aerodynamic) fastback roofline. Powertrains will likely mirror those of the A6 E-Tron, with both single- and dual-motor options available. Expect a driving range north of 250 miles from the Q6 E-Tron (and that’s being a bit conservative).
The Audi Q6 E-Tron will be revealed in 2022 and is due to hit dealers by 2023.