Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will face direct competition from German automaker Audi, which is planning to roll out an electric crossover in 2017, targeting affluent and environmentally conscious consumers, according to Bloomberg. This will be the first conventional model from the company in the category of cars rolling on green energy.
Change in strategy by Audi
In 2015, Audi is planning to launch an electric variant of its R8 sports car, which comes with a price tag of $115,900. Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler told Bloomberg, “Our engineers are working on an electric car that will meet the U.S. regulations for a zero-emission vehicle.”
Stadler said by all means, it will be a crossover, but development is still underway. The new crossover suggests a change in strategy for Audi, which earlier was in favor of introducing dedicated electric vehicles. Previously, Audi was more in favor of developing electric versions of existing models to limit costs.
Tesla is posing challenges to luxury automakers, and Audi is no exception. The Elon Musk-led company is working on its Model X sport-utility vehicle, which is expected to begin shipping in 2015.
Tesla tops consumer satisfaction survey again
Separately, in Consumer Reports’ owner satisfaction survey, Tesla earned the highest amount of points, comfortably sitting at the top of the heap. Audi was at the third spot behind Porsche, and Mercedes Benz was at fourth. The Palo Alto-based company grabbed the first spot consecutively for the second time in the U.S. survey. Tesla’s Model S scored 98 out of a possible 100, one point less than last year. Porsche was at a distant second place with a score of 87.
Consumer Reports said Tesla is not only roomy, comfortable and a lot of fun to drive, but also the operating cost is fairly low. The good news for Tesla comes a year after the car maker had to undergo an investigation over fires in the Model S after the car hits debris. Tesla came out clean after the investigation, bolstering Musk’s confidence and giving him time to expand sales of the Model S and continue the development process of the Model X SUV, which is expected to roll out in the third quarter of 2015.