First All-Electric Audi SUV Has 204-mile Range
The details for a company’s first foray into a new segment gets more scrutiny than an ordinary new car introduction. Thus, it’s logical that the Audi E-tron, the company’s first all-electric model due in dealer showrooms next month, should come under the microscope and be called out for any shortcomings.
Range for an electric vehicle of this generation (as in the 2020 era of vehicles) is key. The bar has been set by Tesla with its Models S, X and 3—hit high 200 miles. With its official EPA numbers of 204 miles, the E-tron comes up significantly short of the Model X’s 289 miles or even the Jaguar I-Pace’s 234.
As the Volkswagen luxury brand’s first EV, the midsize crossover will be tested when it has to move beyond its initial reservation holders. It does boast the fastest charging capability of this growing class at 150 kilowatts (kW). As with all competitive statistics, that one may be challenged soon as well since Tesla announced this month a rolling upgrade of its proprietary chargers to 145 kW from its current 120 kW rate.
Audi claims 10 minutes of high-power charging will add about 54 miles of range to the E-tron’s 95 kilowatt-hour battery.
A Green Factory
One of the “dirty” secrets of EV manufacturer is that they are more energy intensive than conventional vehicle production, primarily because of the long and complex supply chain for batteries as week as some of the lightweight materials critical to this type of car.
The environmental NGO Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that manufacturing EVs took 15-68 percent more energy than a typical internal combustion engine vehicle, a deficit that is compensated by the lighter footprint of the electric vehicle once it gets into a consumer’s hands.
Audi, as part of its eco-consciousness, sought to further attack this disparity and is producing the E-tron in a certified carbon neutral plant in Belgium. The highly automated factory has reduced the amount of energy it uses and shifted to more environmentally friendly types of energy, such as massive solar arrays on the roof of the building. Battery modules are assembled at the plant, reducing that portion of the production’s carbon footprint. The company still has to purchase carbon credits to keep its pledge at present, but hopes to move beyond that tactic in the future.
Expect the competitive nature of the growing EV segment to generate an ongoing spate of articles such as this as standards move upward.
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