Audi launches electric SUV in Tesla's backyard

Ivan Schwartz
September 20, 2018

Volkswagen Auto Group, which owns Audi, is investing $48 billion in battery technology to equip 16 factories that will produce 27 electric models within the next five years.

Company Audi has officially presented serial electric E-Tron. Additionally, 999 units of a First Edition model will be available to US customers.

The interior of the e-tron is just as high-tech as its drivetrain. Hundreds of drones formed Audi's four-ring logo over a former Ford factory turned event space. In 2019, the e-tron Sportback will make its debut to become the second battery-powered offering. This will underpin a series of Audi's electrified models too, covering the "A segment", which comprises city cars. It'll compete against the Mercedes-Benz EQC and upcoming BMW iX3.

These offerings are all SUVs mostly because the market, in general, has shifted heavily in that direction.

"And then with the AC cranked, the radio blasting, two technical wizards at the helm, the e-tron made the 175-mile journey back to this very spot - but this time, it arrived with an estimated 94 miles of range remaining", Keogh said, which comes out to a roughly 269-mile range. "We didn't want to create a vehicle that is edgy and quirky and different".

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The e-tron is the latest in a string of dedicated EVs from European automakers that are taking aim at Tesla and other startups with Tesla-like ambitions. Slats running across the rear bumper draw attention to the car's lack of tailpipes, while there are lights in the front that are created to look like the bars of a charge status indicator. However, like all electric vehicles, the e-tron will boast nearly immediate torque, boosting its sporty feel.

Vehicles optioned with "virtual exterior mirrors" feature additional displays in the front doors, displaying a live camera feed in place of conventional wing mirror units. The views from those cameras will be displayed on screens inside the vehicle. That feature is still not approved by USA regulators.

Audi says that the powerful motors would be good enough to get the vehicle from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a little over 6 seconds. It will be able to tow as much as 4,000 pounds.

As a part of this launch, Audi has also announced an exclusive partnership with Amazon with respect to distribution of the charging mechanism. The e-tron also uses its electric brakes to selectively provide torque vectoring, increasing dynamic performance. When the driver lifts their foot off of the accelerator, energy that would have been used to slow down the vehicle instead charges the battery via the electric motor. This innovative recuperation system is responsible for 30 percent of SUV's range depending on driving condition. The e-commerce brand will also deliver the hardware and hire electricians to install them through its Amazon Home Services operation. The installation can be ordered online.

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