Audi won't chase Tesla or BMW i in electric cars

* Audi commits to plug-in tech * Says pure electric cars aren't practical enough * Audi Q7, A8 and A6 plug-in hybrids coming...

Audi won't chase Tesla or BMW i in electric cars

Audi will not race to join its rivals in selling pure electric cars because sales are still too small to suggest enough customers want them, according to boss Rupert Stadler.

Responding to suggestions that Tesla and BMW i had stolen a march on Audi on electric car technology, Stadler responded: 'We have tested the technology, but we have always been clear that, from a customer's point-of-view, plug-in hybrid technology is best.

'Plug-in technology gives efficiency and it gives range. I've spoken to Tesla customers, and they say that if the plug-in Audi Q7 was available that is the car they would choose. We are confident we have chosen the right path; an electric car that lives only in the showroom does nothing for the CO2 agenda. We want to build cars that sell.'

Stadler also refuted suggestions that the unique styling of BMW i vehicles was an asset. 'By sticking to proven vehicles we have flexibility,' he said. 'We can build plug-in cars in many of our factories, and on many of our existing cars, very quickly.'

Stadler also confirmed plans for Q7, A8 and A6 long-wheelbase plug-in hybrids in the near future, as well as underlining a commitment to maximising the technology benefits of its Ultra range of cars, powered by the latest versions of the firm's 2.0-litre diesel.