Established premium car makers are taking the challenge from Tesla seriously. The Californian electric car company â€“ which is rumoured to be in talks with Apple about producing an â€˜i-carâ€™ â€“ will follow its highly-praised Model S sedan with a crossover Model X. Now from Germany comes the news that Audi is planning a pure electric plug-in SUV crossover based on the new Q7 that will appear later this year.
Said to be called the Q8 e-tron, this model will adopt the technology from the stillborn R8 e-tron sports car and be built on the Volkswagen Groupâ€™s MLB platform for the next generation of large cars with longitudinally-mounted engines.
Meanwhile, Telsa has announced that it plans a â€˜gigafactoryâ€™ in the southwest United States to make 500,000 lithium-ion battery packs a year by 2020. It says that it expects the greater scale of battery production to reduce unit costs by up to 30 per cent. Panasonic, which currently supplies lithium-ion cells to Telsa, is considering investing in the new plant.