Works are underway on the all-electric version of the RS6 with a launch date set for 2024. However, the new electric RS6 will look nothing like the current model. Instead, it will share semblance with the A6 e-tron Avant Concept.
The German automaker will base the upcoming RS6 on the Volkswagen Group’s Premium Platform Electric (PPE) platform. The PPE which was co-developed by Audi and Porsche is designed for larger vehicles that will not fit into the Volkswagen Group MEB platform.
Technical details about the upcoming vehicle remain fussy but Audi’s design chief, Marc Lichte said it will adopt the wide stance of the current RS6.
“I love the RS6 because I can put bikes and skis inside. That is why I love it,” Lichte said. “It is always the wide track. In terms of competitors, they don’t offer EVs with a wide track. I tell you, you will love our RS EVs.”
Stressing the admiration the design of the upcoming RS has received, Lichte said he showed “1,000 managers of [Audi] group in Berlin” the designs of Audi’s future electric RS models and they were ecstatic about them.
The A6 e-tron concept was released in early 2021. According to Lichte, that concept has about 90% of the features of the production-ready A6 e-tron. However, he explained that the concept was for the narrow body A6 and not for the RS6 which would be larger.
“The RS6 e-tron will have a different body, distinct track, and dissimilar wheel diameter,” Lichte said while comparing the concept with the upcoming RS6.
Audi will bring a full-sized sedan to the market in 2024
The German automaker is aggressively entering the EV market. It wants to show its intent with the unveiling of its first all-electric full-size sedan, the 2024 A8. Also, Audi has an ambitious plan of launching only EVs from 2026 as well as ending the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2033.
According to reports, the new A8 will take design cues from the Audi 2021 concept car, the Grandsphere. The concept has a sleek streamlined body with ultra-slim headlights, a short hood, and sculpted sides.
Just like the RS6, the A8 will be based on the PPE architecture. However, the technical specs have not been made public. There are speculations that it will have the same specs as the Grandsphere which has all-wheel drive and electric motors with an output of 710 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque.
The Grandsphere can move from 0 to 62 mph in less than five seconds and draws its energy from a 120-kWh battery. It has an estimated range of 466 miles and can charge from 5% to 80% in just 20 minutes. Audi has not disclosed a price tag but the ICE version of the 2023 A8 starts at $87,800.
The Grandsphere has an interior that is just as enticing as the outside. Passengers can gain entry into the vehicle through reverse-opening doors. Also, the Grandsphere replaces screens with full-width MMI infotainment display that is projected on the wooden surface of the dash.
It is unclear if the electric A8 will replace the current ICE version of the A8 or if the production of both will continue side-by-side.
Audi is expanding South Africa’s EV charging infrastructure
Africa has been largely ignored in the EV revolution but that is about to change. Audi revealed that in the past two years, it has worked with its partners, Rubicon and GridCars, to invest $2.6 million (45 million rands) into EV charging technology in South Africa.
So far, Audi has completed two phases of EV charger installation in South Africa. Phase two includes the installation of the country’s first DC 200 kW charger with solar backup power. Also installed during the second phase are twenty-five 22 kW, five 25 kW, eight 60 kW, and four 100 kW charging stations.
With the newest addition, the total number of AC and DC charging connectors contributed by Audi to South Africa now stands at 127. The chargers can simultaneously handle 57 EVs at different capacities, irrespective of brand and model.
The distribution of the newly installed 43 charging stations is as follows; 10 in the Eastern Cape region, 11 in the Western W Cape region, and 15 in Gauteng. The 200 kW charger is available at the Mall of Africa shopping center in Johannesburg. Audi says the e-tron GT can be recharged there in just 15 minutes.
Head of Audi South Africa, Sascha Sauer, said during the rollout that making EV mobility simpler and more widely accessible to South Africans will enhance the growth of the local EV market.
“EVs are the future of mobility and we are investing not just in hardware infrastructure,” Sauer said. “By fulfilling our early 2022 promise, we are demonstrating our commitment towards leading South Africa into the future of mobility.”
There is a provision for a roaming agreement in the partnership between Audi, Rubicon, and GridCars. This will allow billing cards to be interoperable across the two networks so that Audi drivers and owners of other brands of EVs can easily charge their vehicles.
Although South Africa is facing severe power problems, Audi is optimistic that its charging stations will not be overly affected by the crippling blackouts since they make use of alternative energy.
“While load-shedding is a reality to which South Africans have gotten used to, it is important to mention that our charging network also has solar installations, where possible, to keep the charging stations working optimally,” Sauer said.
The enthusiasm of South Africans to join the electrification trend was showcased in 2022 when the Swedish automaker Volvo opened its online order books for the XC40 P6 Recharge. Only 25 vehicles were allocated to South Africa and they sold out in under 24 hours.