Audi draws up EV plans

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BERLIN -- Audi has drawn up blueprints for a range of high-performance electric cars to help it take on its German rivals and Tesla Motors if the market picks up, sources at the carmaker told Reuters.

Consumers have largely shunned electric vehicles because of their high price tags and limited driving range as well as the scarcity of charging stations, but many analysts predict sales will rise sharply by the end of the decade.

Tesla's success and the excitement about BMW's new "i" electric series have caught the attention of Audi, which some analysts have said risks looking like a laggard in an industry where innovation is a major draw for customers.

Audi, a unit of Volkswagen AG, is about to launch its first electric car: a version of its R8 supercar, which is due to hit European dealerships in 2015. It will offer a range of 280 miles -- close to the 311-mile range of Tesla's Model S luxury car.

Production of the R8 e-tron will be based on demand. But two company sources said Audi has also drawn up blueprints for several high-performance electric sedans and SUVs.

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