Audi Electric SUV To Target Tesla With LG Chem, Samsung Cells

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Audi publicity image for Q6 all-electric SUV, which is to use cells from LG Chem and Samsung SDI

Audi publicity image for Q6 all-electric SUV, which is to use cells from LG Chem and Samsung SDI

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This much we know: a concept for the future Audi Q6 "coupe" SUV will be shown at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.

We also know an all-electric Q6 e-tron version will target the Tesla Model X, though more conventional Q6 versions with gasoline, diesel, and possibly plug-in hybrid powertrains will be sold as well.

DON'T MISS: Audi Q6 Concept For 'Tesla-Fighter' To Appear At Frankfurt Show: Report

Now, one more piece of the puzzle has emerged.

Audi announced this morning that the cell modules for "a purely electrically powered sport utility vehicle" would be provided by Korean makers LG Chem and Samsung SDI.

Purported Audi Q6 electric crossover teaser image

Purported Audi Q6 electric crossover teaser image

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The new batteries they provide, Audi said, will give the new electric utility vehicle a range of "more than 500 kilometers" (310 miles).

That range is undoubtedly on the European testing cycle, which produces longer range ratings than U.S. EPA tests. A reasonable U.S. rating for the electric Audi might be 240 miles or so.

ALSO SEE: Audi Q6 e-Tron All-Electric 'Coupe SUV' Confirmed For 2018

The two Korean companies will supply the cells and modules "from their European plants," Audi said in its announcement.

“We will optimally integrate the innovative cell modules developed with LG Chem and Samsung SDI into our vehicle architecture," said Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi's R&D chief.

Volt Battery Pack

Volt Battery Pack

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The resulting electric car will offer "an attractive overall package of sportiness and range," he concluded.

While Samsung SDI is newer to the game, LG Chem was one of the first volume entrants into the emerging industry of making lithium-ion cells for plug-in vehicles.

Along with Panasonic, whose main customer is Tesla Motors, it has emerged into the top tier of automotive battery cell suppliers.

It famously won the 2009 competition to provide cells for the first Chevrolet Volt, and has since added contracts with Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Renault, Smart, Volkswagen, Volvo, and others.

MORE: How Audi, BMW & Mercedes Plan To Compete With Tesla--And Why (Oct 2014)

The secret to LG Chem's success is the company's expertise in chemicals and materials science, according to Prabhakar Patil, CEO of its battery unit.

Samsung, meanwhile, produces small numbers of electric cars for sale in South Korea, based on the Renault Fluence ZE originally developed for now-defunct Israeli startup Better Place.

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