Like its sibling brands across the VW Group, Audi is going all-in on electric powertrains. That will mean 12 new EV models by 2025, and an array of intriguing concepts in the meantime to tide us over. On Monday, Audi teased its AI:Trail Quattro off-roader concept (which it styles “AI:TRAIL quattro,” for some reason) that will emerge at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Under cover of partial darkness, it looks incredible.
The German company offered few details about the car, but it presumably will run on the VW Group’s new electric MEB platform, like the VW Dune Buggy does. The “Quattro” indicates it will have some form of Audi’s trademark four-wheel-drive system. And while it’s hard to make out details, the AI:Trail Quattro’s cut-off fenders mean it somewhat resembles a luxurious version of a Halo Warthog.
Off-roading, as we’ve seen with burgeoning companies such as Rivian and Bollinger, will be a natural application for electric vehicles. Heavy battery packs permit balanced weight distribution and give the cars a low center of gravity. Immediate torque is a major plus. And capable off-roaders are popular right now, so they may be the best way for EVs to infiltrate the mainstream market.
There’s a small but possible chance the AI:Trail Quattro leads to a production car — perhaps with a bit less side-window glass, though. Let’s hope the next few years allows Audi enough time to rethink that brutally idiosyncratic capitalization.
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