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Audi developing Model S-fighting EV?

Audi\'s upcoming battery-powered sedan is tentatively scheduled to hit the market in 2017.

Audi has confirmed that it is in the early stages of developing an all-electric sedan aimed squarely at the Tesla Model S.

"[Such a car] is under development and it will be on the market in about 2017, but it will not be a sports car," explained Ulrich Hackenberg, the head of Audi's R&D department, in an interview with British magazine Auto Express.

Hackenberg revealed the sedan will be equipped with the same electric drivetrain that is currently being designed to power the upcoming R8 e-tron, a move that will allow Audi to benefit from economies of scale. Technical details are still being finalized but the sedan will offer a maximum driving range of about 280 miles thanks to next-generation electric motors and new battery packs that boast a much higher energy density than the units used today.

Citing insider intel, Auto Express reveals Audi's yet-unnamed EV will take the form of a large sedan, a body style that will allow it to accommodate a sizable battery pack while still boasting a generous amount of passenger and trunk space. A similarly-sized electric crossover might be added to the Audi lineup before the end of the decade if public demand for the sedan is high.

Additional details about Audi's Tesla-fighter will emerge over the next year or so.

Porsche-badged siblingAudi is not the only Volkswagen-owned company planning to topple Tesla. A recent report hints sister company Porsche is also hard at work on an electric sedan that will slot beneath the Panamera. A precise timeframe for when to expect the sedan is not known; Porsche initially hinted the car was on track for a 2017 launch, but an earlier report reveals it has been delayed until at least 2019 for reasons that remain murky.

Note: 2012 Audi R8 e-tron prototype pictured.

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