Activesphere concept is a vision of Audi’s next-generation electric cars
Delays in the development of the VW Group’s SSP structure are behind moves to source a new platform from the SAIC-run brand
Audi is reportedly close to signing an agreement with Chinese firm SAIC for the rights to use an electric vehicle platform employed by its upmarket brand, IM Motor.
The two-year-old structure is planned to be used by Audi to underpin a series of upcoming electric-powered models following delays to the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) being developed by Audi’s parent company, the Volkswagen Group.
Among the existing models already based on the SAIC-developed platform, which supports both rear- and four-wheel drive, are the IM Motor L7 saloon and LS7 SUV.
According to SAIC engineering sources, the modular IM Motor electric vehicle platform shares key elements of its structure with the Nebula platform used by the MG, Roewe and Rising brands.
According to information supplied by SAIC, the Nebula platform is engineered to support batteries of up to 2023mm in length and both single- and dual-motor drivetrains with ouputs from 201bhp to 805bhp. It also supports both 400V and 800V drive electric architectures and wheelbases ranging between 2690mm and 3100mm.
IM Motors was founded in 2020 by SAIC, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech and the Alibaba Group as a luxury car brand based in Shanghai, China, with SAIC as the majority shareholder.
Secrecy surrounds the future models that Audi plans to base on the IM Motor platform, although insiders suggest it could be suitable for production versions of the German car maker’s Activesphere, Urbansphere, Skysphere and Grandsphere concepts.
The Volkswagen Group’s existing MEB, J1 and Premium Platform Electric (PPE) structures have been deemed unsuitable for these planned models, Autocar has been told.
The IM Motor L7 saloon was developed jointly by SAIC and British-based Williams Engineering. Its dual-motor drivetrain develops 536bhp and 516lb ft of torque, giving it a claimed 0-62mph time of 3.9sec.
Launched at a price of RMB408,800 (£43,900) in April 2022, it is offered with either a standard 93kWh or optional 118kWh battery – the latter claimed to provide it with a range of up to 621 miles on the CLTC test procedure used in China.