Audi Goes Electric, Tackles Tesla With New e-tron Electric SUV

Andrew Cummings
September 20, 2018

The new Audi e-tron will be produced at a plant in Hungary. European sales start in November.

The Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback use components from Audi's modular longitudinal platform.

It comes with Quattro all-wheel drive that its designers claim is better than any version used on an Audi before. That puts it up against premium electric vehicle rivals the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace for range, however higher capacity 100D Teslas and Mercedes's EQC will exceed this.

Audi said it plans to introduce a total of 12 full-electric vehicles in its main markets by 2025.

Audi e-tron
The new Audi e-tron will be produced at a plant in Hungary and is expected to roll into U.S. showrooms

In Europe, the vehicle will use cameras instead of conventional mirrors to give drivers a view to the rear.

The first 300 lighted flying objects already greeted guests from all over the world, conjuring up the familiar four-ringed logo of Audi above their heads in a display that the guests called "electrifying".

"The Model X is a little bit larger, more seat configurations, with a third-row seat option, so the e-tron doesn't have all of that", Schuster told CNBC.

Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000, depending on the home's electrical system. The E-Tron stands a little wider than Audi's other SUVs. Audi also showed off its virtual side mirrors - a feature that isn't allowed on US models, only its European cars.

The collaboration can provide renewable energy for owners that charge their e-tron at home.

The Audi e-tron will be available in the United Kingdom from early 2019 with a RRP of £70,850.

Audi will partner with online retailer Amazon to sell and install home EV charging systems to buyers of the e-tron, the companies said Monday.

The E-Tron looks, quite clearly, like an Audi SUV. Passengers can stay fully connected via the on-board LTE Advanced and Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, with a high-tech sat-nav system that's capable of planning efficient routes.

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.

But an e-tron detail is a hand rest above the console that incorporates a gear selector operated with your thumb and index finger. Globally, the company delivered more than 680,000 Q-model SUVs in 2017.

Reservations for the e-tron - which will hit the US market in the middle of 2019 - opened up Monday night with a refundable $1,000 deposit. After that, Audi will roll out battery-powered vehicles covering all major segments from compact vehicles to upscale limousines.

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