For the most part, the selection of truly practical electric vehicles--or even hybrids, for that matter--has been relatively poor.

In terms of all-electric crossovers, there's the Toyota RAV4 EV and... well, the Toyota RAV4 EV. That'll change when Tesla launches its Model X crossover and now German automaker Audi is expected to launch its own rival by 2017.

Called the Q8 e-tron, Autocar says the model will be based on the next-generation Audi Q7 SUV, but will feature much sleeker styling with a high waist, low roof and narrower side windows. It should also be available in five and seven-seat configurations.

It'll also be all-electric like the R8 e-tron supercar, rather than a plug-in hybrid model like Audi's smaller A3 Sportback e-tron, arriving later this year.

Audi engineers are said to be targeting a realistic range of 370 miles, greater even than Tesla's Model S, and like the upcoming Tesla Model X the Q8 e-tron will utilize electric motors at both axles for four-wheel drive traction.

MORE: Audi R8 e-Tron Electric Supercar Back From The Dead, With Greater Range?

The company is banking on improvements in battery technology to hit that range estimate, though even with denser energy chemistry it's likely the car will use a large, heavy battery pack of at least 80 kWh, similar to that of the top-end Model S.

Some of this weight will be offset by the car's new 'MLB-evo' platform, mixing aluminum and high-strength steels for a 660-pound weight cut next to the current Q7.

Rather than being an electric spin-off of the next Q7, the Q8 will also use regular Audi gasoline and diesel drivetrains, while halfway-house plug-in hybrid is also likely.

Audi's decision to offer more electric vehicles on the belief that many cities, particularly those in Europe, will increasingly push for zero-emission centers where traditional vehicles will be banned. For the company's customers, green attributes will be as important as the car's premium positioning.

A car that size with range that high is unlikely to come cheap--but it does signify the dawn of more practical, adaptable electric vehicles is on the way.


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