More details on Audi’s Tesla Model S competitor emerge

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Audi’s upcoming four-door luxury electric car will have a 311-mile range, along with Level 4 self-driving features (essentially full autonomy, for those keeping track) and three separate electric motors, according to a new report from Autocar. The car is set to go head-to-head with the Model S, based on these new stats, and will likely be called the “A9 e-tron” when it goes on sale sometime in 2020, the publication says.

The range is in line with what Tesla says its new P100D option package will offer for Model S owners, though Autocar says that the Audi A9 e-tron will have a 95kWh battery to achieve that range, rather than the 100kWh version Tesla employs to get 315 miles as measured by EPA standards.

The powertrain for the upcoming vehicle is said to feature three electric motors that combined produce 429 brake horsepower (bhp), with a drive mode that can boost it to 496 bhp for short stints. Audi is looking at electric drivetrain tuning as one way where it will be able to offer a differentiating advantage to potential consumers.

Another option offered to potential A9 e-tron buyers will be a wireless inductive charging option, with a charge rate of 11kW (Plugless, an aftermarket option for Tesla Model S, offers a 7.2kW rate that provides about 20-25 miles of range per hour, for context). The option comes with an automated parking feature that will ensure the car positions itself correctly over a charging pad in an owner’s garage, Autocar says.

Audi has already announced that its A8 will get Level 3 automation next year, but Level 4 in a production car by 2020 is still an ambitious target (though one shared by a growing number of carmakers and tech companies worldwide). It’s also unlikely the Model S that this A9 e-tron competes with in 2020 will look like the Model S of today – Musk has hinted that a big leap in Tesla’s autonomous driving tech is on the way soon. Still, it sounds like Audi will be in the ring when the electric self-driving royal rumble goes down.

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