Audi has officially entered the EV market with their first electric SUV, the Audi e tron, and they are taking no shortcuts. Check out the recently published overview of the vehicle and what makes it stand out among the competition.
Electric has gone Audi… but what does that mean exactly? We didn’t just put out our first fully electric vehicle and that was it. It means we used our meticulous engineering prowess to think through every aspect of what electric vehicle ownership should be. But it all starts with the first no compromise electric SUV.
Introducing, the Audi e-tron.
EV ownership thus far has been an exercise in balancing compromises in the vehicle. So to understand what the Audi e-tron is, it’s equally important to know what it is not. We didn’t just take one of our car chassis, stick in some batteries and a higher roof. The e-tron is a true, built from the ground up, Mid-size SUV that’s similar in size to a Q8. But that’s just the starting point to where the Audi e-tron separates itself from the EV competition.
For us, design aesthetic permeates everything we do. While other manufacturers push their electric cars to look overtly different just for the sake of it, Audi challenged that notion from the beginning. We set out to make the e-tron be an Audi first, with design accents that show it’s uniqueness second. Not, the other way around.
The single-frame grille articulates this mindset perfectly as its design aligns the e-tron to the Audi family, yet the mostly closed louvers give a distinct look while allowing for the cooling an electric vehicle at this performance level still needs. That philosophy continues everywhere. The lower rocker panel and unique headlight signature subtly hint at where the power comes from. The tapered roof line fulfills efficiency needs yet gives the e-tron a sporty look without sacrificing head room. The Quattro blisters found on all Audi’s takes on a more angular shape. Available 21 inch wheels give the e-tron a more muscular look while the rear taillight animation signifies the level of tech inside.
Inside the e-tron carries over Audi’s benchmark for luxury without sacrifice. Valcona leather front seats with heating, ventilation and massage functions are available. Four way climate control is standard and available ambient LED lighting fills the cabin which can be changed to taste.
Cargo space increases to 57 cubic feet with seats folded and the e-tron has more rear leg room than any other electric car in its class.
From there, the driver focused technology of the front cabin is immediately apparent. The standard virtual cockpit plus shows vehicle status and infotainment in multiple view options while the available head up display helps keep eyes focused on the road. The seamless black panel dash integrates Audi’s dual touch screen MMI system with haptic touch feedback. The MMI interface replicates the feel of using a smart phone for ease of use while also including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard. Bang and Olufsen speakers create 3D sound as if heard right from the stage. The unique gear selector is solid piece of padded metal rising from the center console and doubles as a wrist rest for the MMI.
There’s a reason why no one has made an electric SUV quite like the e-tron before. It’s not easy. This size and weight demands the pinnacle of expertise to solve efficiently. We started by building an SUV that is exceptionally aerodynamic, but doesn’t sacrifice normal headroom. We then developed a 95 kilowatt hour battery with liquid cooling that helps make sure the full power is available when it’s needed.
Performance repeatability is something other electric vehicles can struggle with. Electric motors can generate a lot of heat which degrades performance quickly, so we developed our own with a revolutionary cooling lance system that allows for repeatable performance. This allows the two asynchronous motors to push the e-tron from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds with boost engaged, not just a few times, but many times with confidence and allows the same power to be available at passing speeds.
The most important performance aspect of the e-tron may be something built on from our legacy, quattro. Quattro has defined the Audi legacy for over 30 years and the e-tron marks the most important revolution in all wheel drive technology since its inception. In a standard car, quattro is the complex manipulation of intricate moving parts that must engage and disengage as fast as mechanically possible. Losses in time and energy are unavoidable in something that complex. Electric quattro in the e-tron, has none of these issues and primarily works as a function of software. The electric motors can react to input a thousand times a second in constantly changing conditions. A traditional drivetrain can’t even come close. Electric quattro along with air suspension make the e-tron as all-road capable as any Audi.
Audi’s philosophy of over engineering our cars carries over as well. We may not always be the first to market, but that’s because we test, refine, test, and refine again until we get it right. The e-tron was put through years of some of the most rigorous testing Audi has ever performed. From the ice roads of Sweden, to the deserts of South Africa, the e-tron and its components have been tested in nearly every extreme weather, terrain, and crash situation one could face. From a strengthened metal body around the battery to acoustic dampening making the cabin unbelievably quiet, every bit of expertise was brought to bare to make the e-tron the most refined electric SUV yet.
Continuing the theme of no compromise, the Audi e-tron offers the full range of our driver assistance systems. Available rear cross traffic, and intersection assist along with pre- sense 360 can detect surrounding traffic and brake the e-tron to help avoid collision. The standard top view camera with virtual 360 view can help you navigate tight spaces. The available Audi adaptive cruise assist helps the driver stay in their lane with guided steering assistance, acceleration, and braking in traffic jams and normal highway speeds.
The myAudi connected services app brings a whole new level of control to your e-tron. The e- tron trip planner accounts for charging that may be needed on longer journeys and automatically routes you to charging stations accordingly. The charging scheduler allows you to set when and where the e-tron begins charging when plugged in. Set it to charge immediately while at work but then intelligently wait to charge at home until off-peak hours.
Remote climatization will quickly become the feature you can’t live without. It allows you to heat or cool the cabin as needed, as well as precondition the battery so every time you get in your e-tron everything feels just right. And for the first time in any Audi, Amazon Alexa functionality is built into the e-tron, available through an Audi Connect Prime subscription. Use Alexa to create reminders, play music, control connected home devices, all the things you’d usually do with Alexa, now right from your car.
Finally, the biggest barrier to electric vehicle ownership, range anxiety. Yet even here we thought that through as well. 98 percent of all single trip journeys in the U.S. are under 50 miles, so we gave the e-tron a battery that takes you over 200 miles with confidence. Then, we gave the e-tron a 150-kilowatt charging speed. That can recharge the battery to 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes when charging at a high-speed public charger. Audi is offering new e-tron owners 1,000 kWh of charging at no additional cost for use at Electrify America fast-charging stations within the first four years of ownership through the myAudi app. By the end of 2019 Electrify America will add more than 480 charging stations to their growing network covering every major U.S. corridor including cross-country routes. And if two percent of the time is all you ever need it, that could mean years of complimentary public high-speed charging.
We said Electric had gone Audi. Now, you know exactly why. The no compromise electric SUV, the Audi e-tron.