NAIAS without gas? The big (electric) news is that Audi is getting serious about clean vehicles. They’re part of Volkswagen AG, which also includes Porsche (all intent on electrification, starting with hybrids). Yet, Audi was on again, off again with their e-tron plug-in sports coupe. Originally advertized for 2012, the company then wavered again and again. No more. The R8 e-tron has been (re)confirmed. The official line is that better batteries made the vehicle competitive; rumor is that Tesla had made their 2012 plans uncompetitive. Going deeper- or shallower, if we’re talking pocketbooks- Audi also showed an A3 Allroad e-tron. This crossover is a big hatchback (“sportback”) with electric all-wheel-drive and good acceleration. Though a concept for now, Audi placed it front and center, including in their publicity, as if to show they’re a serious competitor.
Combined with VW’s e-Golf and e-Up and XL1, and Porsche’s plug-in Panamera and 918 Spyder…whole lotta snakin’ goin’ on there in Wolfsburg. Tesla meanwhile was coy and vague about 2014- no firm Model X date besides “future,” and nothing firm on the Model E at all.