Audi came out this week with the first real production model electric car in the form of the e-tron. It is a large and quite sporty SUV that has something of the Q5 road. The comparison does not stop there either, because the car that was shown in San Francisco is a step towards the future for Audi.
The e-tron is going to have a range of more than 400 kilometers (so we immediately fear that it is 410 kilometers) and does so with two electric motors that generate 300 kWh and you thus in 5.7 seconds from 0 to one hundred. Those are not racing speeds, but for an SUV that is aimed at families and relaxation, it is fast enough. The maximum speed is electronically limited to 200 kilometers per hour, which also seems to us. The Audi feeling is there anyway.
Extend as much as possible from presses
Like all-electric cars, the e-tron has a system that gives energy back to the battery if you brake, but it also has ‘coasting recuperation’ that provides energy when you release the accelerator. So long as you do not have to press the brake very hard, the ‘real’ brakes are never discussed and you always generate new energy for the battery. A smart system checks in the background what the distribution should be between wheel generator and brake disc and thus ensures that you always brake as hard as you want and you do not notice anything of that whole process as a driver.
It is being worked on all sides to make the car as economical as possible and that includes aerodynamics. If you would take the version with the virtual rearview mirrors (now the standard for every vehicle that will come out later than 2020) then you can drive about 40 kilometers further on a full battery compared to a normal vehicle with the e-tron.
Quickly charging the battery
Speaking of battery: the 95 kWh that is among the passengers is of course perfectly placed so that there is a 50/50 weight distribution on the axles but more important is how quickly you can refill that battery. According to Audi, you can continue on a long journey through the 150 kW chargers at a fast-charging station in about half an hour. An e-tron charging service will be launched that lets you load at 72,000 charge points in Europe for a fee, whereby Audi uses an app and where you also get one contract where you can use the charging stations in all countries. the same rate.
Of course, you can also load at home, but with 11 kW that goes a bit slower. Then you need an hour or eight or nine to fill the battery completely. There is also an option to be able to charge with 22 kW, by the way.
The exterior of the e-tron breathes Audi, but also inside you get what you expect, namely minimalistic luxury. The virtual rearview mirrors are beautifully incorporated in the design, the two (or even three, if you go for the virtual cockpit option) touchscreens for the driver replace almost every button, which ensures that the interior can be wonderfully tight. A lot of the functions can also be controlled with your voice, so there is always a way to do what you want.
Of course, there is also thought of everything in other systems. Think of a WiFi hotspot, intelligent navigation that remembers where you have gone before and knows where the charging points are that you can use, adaptive cruise assist and even semi-autonomous braking and acceleration.
Audi also says that the models available after mid-2019 have the possibility to get new functions via software update. Think of new functions in the infotainment, improvement of the LED headlights and other intelligent systems that can always be fine-tuned.
When can you ride an e-tron?
The key question is when Audi will deliver all this. The first cars will roll off the tires at the end of this year in the climate-neutral factory in Brussels, according to Audi. You can also order one for 80,000 euros,
If the e-tron becomes immensely popular (and that would be possible) this could well break the hegemony of the Tesla as a more expensive electric litterbox, but then there must be enough. Many electric automakers have problems with production, at least in terms of quantity, and if Audi is also bothered by it, you get mourning customers. We asked Audi Nederland if they could tell us if there was any shortage at the launch or in the period after that and if they could already say something about the delivery time, but we have not received any answers to this yet.