Audi’s maiden EV to get a range boost to over 600km next year, according to new reports, ahead of an indirect Q8 E-Tron replacement in 2026.

The facelifted 2023 Audi E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback due in late 2022 will gain new batteries, more efficient motors and a significant boost in range, ahead of the arrival of an all-new Q8 E-Tron replacement in 2026 – according to new reports.

British publication Autocar claims facelifted versions of Audi’s first electric vehicle, the E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback medium-to-large SUVs, will undergo a facelift in the second half of 2022, with an new battery pack that will deliver a longer driving range.

Combined with more efficient electric motors and an “upgraded electronics system” with improved regenerative braking capabilities, the British outlet’s sources claim driving range will be increased to “more than 600km” across both body styles.

That’s an increase of more than 50 per cent in some cases over the current car, which claims as much as 452km of range on Europe’s WLTP cycle in its slipperiest Sportback shape, or as little as 369km for the least-aerodynamic E-Tron ‘wagon’.

Autocar doesn’t confirm whether the updated models’ batteries will increase in capacities – merely stating they are “new-generation” units – though a mild capacity increases is likely, from today’s 95kWh (86.5kWh usable) to around 120kWh.

The battery updates are designed to extend the SUVs’ life cycles to around 2026 – making them seven to eight years old by the time they’re replaced – for an all-new replacement, rumoured to wear the Q8 E-Tron name.

While Autocar provides few details on the Q8 E-Tron, German publication Automobilwoche claims the new model will enter production in 2026 at Audi’s plant in Brussels, Belgium, and will serve as a replacement for the combustion-powered, current-generation Q8 large SUV (below).

By the time it reaches the end of its life cycle, today’s E-Tron will be superseded by two distinct SUV models, sitting on either side of it: the smaller Q6 E-Tron (and an eventual Sportback sibling) due to launch in late 2022 or early 2023, and the aforementioned, larger Q8 E-Tron slated for 2026.

Both all-new electric models will ride on Audi and Porsche’s co-developed Premium Platform Electric, versus the adapted MLB Evo architecture shared with the petrol-powered Q5 and Q7 that underpins the current E-Tron.

The new electric SUVs will join the recently-revealed Q4 E-Tron small SUV (riding on Volkswagen’s MEB platform), along with another MEB-based model slated for China in 2022, Autocar claims, which will serve as a luxury companion to the Volkswagen ID.6.

The above models all form part of Audi’s plan to end sales of combustion engines outside of China by 2033, with its last all-new petrol or diesel vehicle to be introduced in 2026.

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