Audi Unveils First All-Electric Car
They’re all in now. If you want an all-electric SUV/crossover, you have one choice—the Tesla Model X. During the past month, three new competitors joined the Jaguar I-Pace (which is just arriving at U.S. dealerships) and gave notice that choice is coming. Following Mercedes and BMW, Audi last night broke cover with its E-tron, which will show up in 300 dealer showrooms in the second quarter of next year.
The Audi E-tron follows the mold of the Mercedes EQC by presenting itself as a conventionally styled car, in contrast to the more radical styling of Jaguar, BMW and Tesla. The E-tron, a designation Audi has been using for its plug-in hybrid models, will start at $74,800, almost $10,000 below the Model X starting price.
The initial E-Tron model will be the Edition One (999 numbered models, already sold out). Upscale trim levels will go for $81,800 and $86,700, although Scott Keough, president of Audi of America, made a point that at all levels the cars are well-equipped. Range has not been certified by the EPA, but in European test cycles it achieved 400 kilometers (250 miles). Keough told of a San Francisco-to-Tahoe run with a pilot vehicle that traversed the 200-mile trip and 7,000-foot elevation rise with a few miles left. On the return, downhill run they ended up with more than 50 miles of range.
Range vs. Acceleration
In the battle of the specs, the Audi E-tron packs a 95 kWh battery compared to the Model X’s base 75 kWh one (you can upgrade to a 100 kWh model). The Model X has a 237-mile range with the 75 kWh battery and 295 miles with larger battery. Audi claims a 5.5-second 0-60 time for the E-tron while Tesla boasts 4.9 seconds for the base Model X and 2.9 seconds for the performance version.
Audi is betting its brand will be the key to E-tron sales. As Audi’s temporary CEO Bram Schot said at the beginning of the reveal. He said Audi may not be the first to do something, but its motto is “being the first to do things right.” The “right-ness” comes from the Quattro four-wheel drive system, lightweight aluminum construction and LED lighting, which add up to Audi’s approach to e-mobility.
We’ll have more details in a later article.
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