Audi has announced that its first all-electric car, the R8 e-tron, will start to be available in late 2012, and that the company plans to be the leading premium manufacturer of electric vehicles by the year 2020.
The R8 e-tron is scheduled to be built at Audi’s Neckarsulm plant, but is currently undergoing technology design in Heilbronn-Biberach, Germany. We recently reported on details of the automaker’s R3 e-tron concept sedan, a plug-in hybrid vehicle, and noted late last year that the company was investing $90 million into developing electric cars.
A mid-range sports car that accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds., the R8 e-tron weighs in at 3,527 pounds, and according to the company is being built by employees specifically trained for the vehicle. Audi is spending over $7 billion on two German sites over the next four years, one of which is the manufacturing center for the R8 e-tron.
As far as luxury competitors go, Audi is ahead of Lexus in developing all-electric models, and a bit different than the ultra-fast options from Tesla Motors. But, BMW has already planned to offer its ActiveE to consumers this fall, and the Nissan Leaf, although not a typical high-end car, is certainly appealing for being the first mass-produced electric car on the market.