In many sectors expecting customers to put down a sizeable deposit on a product they haven't seen, other than in pictures, that won't even go into production until next year would seem to be asking quite a lot of them. But it doesn't appear to be a problem for Audi as it's now expanding the areas where customers can put down a €2,000 deposit on its first fully-electric SUV, the e-tron.

After having already received 5,000 orders from customers in Norway, which is Europe's largest market currently for EVs, Audi dealers in Switzerland, Austria and Belgium are now able to take e-tron deposits from consumers. Although the e-tron is currently only being marketed to the public in those four countries, an Audi spokesperson has said that local sales organizations in other markets such as China and Germany will make decisions on when they will start taking orders separately.

The e-tron SUV will be the first vehicle to spearhead Audi's electric car product offensive, which is particularly important for the company as it continues to try to restore its technology credentials in the wake of its parent Volkswagen Group's diesel emissions scandal. The SUV EV will be launched later this year, when it will then go head-to-head in the market with the likes of the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace.

As well as the obvious environmentally friendly credentials, the Audi e-tron will also boast a driving range on a full charge of 500 km and fast charging. The vehicle's drivetrain will develop 496 horsepower and as much as 800 Nm of torque. That translates to acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds, and onwards to a top speed will be 210 km/h. And as far as the size of the SUV is concerned, its 4880 mm length will see it positioned in the market right in between the current Q5 and Q7, although the e-tron's roofline will be lower than both of those models.

The vehicle will finally be unveiled in Brussels at an Audi summit in August, and it's the first of three all-electric vehicles Audi is set to launch by 2020.