Audi is the latest automaker to reveal plans for a lower-cost EV

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Audi is joining the race as automakers gear up to introduce new, lower-cost EV models. The new entry-level EV will sit below the Q4 e-tron, which starts at just over $50,000.

Audi plots a new lower-cost EV, an electric A3 or Q3

After unveiling the new Q6 e-tron this week, its next-gen premium mid-size electric SUV, Audi, is planning a smaller, lower-cost EV.

The Q6 e-tron is the “start of an extensive product initiative,” according to CEO Gernot Döllner. “Despite the recent public debate, there is no doubt the future of the car is electric,” Audi’s boss explained.

“At Audi, we will electrify all core segments by 2027 and have defined a fully electric target portfolio.”

Döllner, who took over for Markus Duesmann in September, said the company is accelerating development on a new entry-level electric car that will be the electric equivalent to the A3 or Q3.

After retiring the A1 and Q2, the A3 and Q3 are Audi’s smallest models. Döllner said the luxury brand is launching an “additional electric model below the Q4 E-tron,” according to Autocar.

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2023 Audi Q4 50 e-tron (Source: Audi)

“It will be a wonderful, unique independent vehicle concept,” produced in Ingolstadt alongside the new Q6 e-tron.

Döllner didn’t give up any details, but given Audi’s preference toward SUVs, the entry-level EV could take more of a crossover-like design as a sibling to the Q3. The report notes that ex-tech chief Oliver Hoffman claimed Volkswagen’s MEB platform would underpin the EV rather than the new PPE powering the Q6 E-tron.

Audi’s boss said a “final decision on which platform we will use has not been taken,” suggesting it could change. The new electric car is expected to launch in 2027.

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Audi Q6 e-tron quattro (Source: Audi AG)

The race for more affordable EVs

The new lower-cost Audi EV is “not a four-metre car,” according to Döllner. “We won’t have a successor for the A1 or Q2, not a direct successor. But with the model below [the] Q4 in the [A3] segment, that will be definitely our entry-level car.”

Audi’s latest comments come as several automakers have made similar commitments recently.

Ford is shifting its plans to smaller, more affordable EVs. The American automaker is developing a new low-cost EV platform to underpin a smaller electric pickup and SUV.

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2024 Ford F-150 Flash (Source: Ford)

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Ford’s “skunk works” team working on the platform is led by Alan Clarke, who led engineering on the Tesla Model Y.

Sources familiar with the matter say the first model will launch in 2026 with starting prices around $25,000.

Tesla is also planning to launch its next-gen EV, with starting prices around $25,000. Although initial plans called for the EV to be built at Gigafactory Mexico, CEO Elon Musk confirmed it will be built in Texas.

Rivian-R2
Rivian R2 (Source: Rivian)

American EV startup Rivian shook the internet after revealing the smaller, more affordable R2, which will start at $45,000. CEO RJ Scaringe unveiled an even smaller and cheaper R3 electric crossover.

Rivian has already confirmed that the R2 will launch in Europe as it expands overseas. According to Scaringe, the EV is already seeing demand, with over 68,000 reservations in under 24 hours.

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Rivian R3X (Source: Rivian)

Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen, announced it aims to begin producing its most affordable ID.1 electric car in 2027, starting at 20,000 euros ($21,700). VW brand leader Thomas Shafer said the ID.1 will offer “affordable electric mobility for everyone.” It will follow the ID.2, revealed as a concept last March.

Based on a new entry-level version of the MEB platform, the ID.2 will start under 25,000 euros ($27,000) with 279 miles range.

Volkswagen's-ID-2all-EV
Volkswagen ID 2all electric vehicle (Source: Volkswagen)

VW’s spokesperson for Design, Stepan Rehahk, posted a teaser of the ID.2 SUV, the affordable EVs bigger sibling.

Kia is also planning a series of low-cost models. Its entry-level EV3, starting at $30,000, is expected to launch by the end of the year. The EV4, Kia’s entry-level electric sedan, will follow next year, with starting prices expected around $35,000.

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Kia EV lineup from left to right: EV6, EV4, EV5, EV3, EV9 (Source: Kia)

And this just scratches the surface. Automakers and startups from around the globe are racing to introduce lower-priced EVs as demand for affordable options builds.

Electrek’s Take

The rush to introduce more affordable EVs comes as low-cost automakers like China’s BYD continue expanding overseas.

Electric cars pushed China past Japan to become the leading export nation for the first time last year. BYD just expanded its footprint in Europe by launching its best-selling Atto 3 and Seal EV in Greece.

The global EV leader plans to more than triple its share of the European EV market before it even begins production in the region. BYD will start building EVs and batteries in Hungary in 2026, enabling faster deliveries at a lower cost.

Although BYD’s Atto 3 (Yuan Plus) starts at just $16,644 (119,800 yuan) in China, it costs around $40,000 (37,990 euros) in Europe. Once production begins, BYD looks to change that.

Legacy automakers, now Audi included, are rushing to compete with plans to launch their own lower-cost EVs.

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