Audi embarks on EV offensive as E-Tron premieres

Daniel Fowler
September 20, 2018

Fully refundable, $1,000 reservations for the 2019 e-tron SUV can be made here. European sales start in November.

UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said in a note on Tuesday that the e-tron "fails to set new benchmarks in the premium EV segment, even though we consider it better than the Mercedes EQC". Audi has also deployed a new generation of its powerful quattro drive tech to ensure excellent traction and dynamics.

Audi is also partnering with Arcadia Power; e-tron customers will be offered the opportunity to sign up with the renewable energy provider to provide more power to the grid.

Analyst Patrick Hummel and team point to the lower range of the E-Tron in comparison the Model X and slightly slower acceleration pace.

In a city where Teslas are a common sight - and just a few minutes from the factory where Elon Musk's company is cranking out a record number of electric vehicles - Audi (NSU-DE) rolled out an all-electric SUV it hopes will cut into Tesla's dominance of the luxury EV market.

Despite its electric drivetrain, in many other respects the e-tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV. Electrify America is expected to have installed 2,000 chargers across America by mid 2019.

The decision to go with an SUV, rather than a sedan, however, reflects the rapid shift in the overall automotive market, traditional sport-utility vehicles and crossovers now accounting for more than half of all US new vehicle sales, even as four and two-door models continue losing momentum.

Audi's new e-tron sport-utility is the first of several battery-electrics the brand plans to unleash in the U.S
Audi's new e-tron sport-utility is the first of several battery-electrics the brand plans to unleash in the U.S

However, Audi's charging infrastructure pales in comparison to Tesla's. Called "Audi Home Charging powered by Amazon Home Services", e-tron owners will be able to order the charging system through Amazon and have it setup by Amazon Home Service.

The E-Tron looks, quite clearly, like an Audi SUV. The rear of the e-tron features a tailgate spoiler to improve aerodynamics and LED taillights with a connecting lighting strip.

An optional Driver Assistance Package adds an array of sophisticated safety and driver assistance technology including adaptive cruise control that includes adjusting for road conditions and curves, intersection assist, parking assist and a 360-degree camera system.

The E-Tron was revealed at an event on the San Francisco waterfront. By then, these models and Audi's hybrids will account for about a third of global deliveries, according to a statement.

Reservations for the e-tron - which will hit the USA market in the middle of 2019 - opened up Monday night with a refundable $1,000 deposit.

Under the cabin floor the battery capacity of 95 kWh, which provides a power reserve of 400 km per charge (when measured by a realistic standard WLTP).

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