Granted, the Audi e-Tron is designed to be a luxury SUV.
It may be envisioned as a must-have product but with no prices as yet common sense dictates that all that new technology, in a brand new all-electric vehicle that looks as amazing as this one, is not going to come cheap. Must-have may not necessarily translate to can-have.
On the plus side though, being all-electric the e-Tron should offer some benefits in terms of company car tax rates and running costs so it may not be completely out of the question.
If that’s not enough to tempt you, look at the picture and close your eyes. Now imagine how good you’ll feel driving into the office car park on a Monday morning behind the wheel of a car from the future.
You want one now, don’t you?
- On sale next year, Coupe version 2019
- 310-mile range makes it viable
- Front and rear motors for e-quattro four-wheel drive
- Aerodynamic styling, high-tech interior.
TWO motoring facts are becoming increasingly clear to justify the unveiling in Shanghai of an Audi e-tron Sportback concept.
- Sales figures suggest that an increasing number of people are choosing to drive an SUV of some kind.
- Electric vehicles are eventually going to outnumber those with an internal combustion engine.
Given that an SUV is a tad bigger and heavier than your average electric vehicle – the additional load on the batteries may lead to a debilitating condition known clinically as ‘range anxiety’ – it stands to reason anyone wanting an electric SUV is going to have to wait a while for the technology to catch up.
So, that will be next year then…
That’s when the Audi e-Tron SUV goes on sale, closely followed by the Sportback coupe version in 2019. Audi hasn’t made a secret of the fact this is intended to be the must-have product of the next decade. It’s easy to see why.
Powered by three electric motors, one on the front axle and two at the rear, and with a power output of 320kW, the Audi e-Tron will reach 60mph in around 4.5 seconds.
More importantly for an all-electric vehicle is the projected range of 310 miles on a full charge. That’s close enough to the range most people would get out of a tank of regular fuel to make the e-Tron a viable alternative.
The e-Tron will be fitted with a combined charging system to allow users to charge from a domestic supply or from a charging point. Audi also claims a full charge at a 150kW charging point is done in around 50 minutes so if you do have to charge mid-journey it should be relatively painless.
The test versions of the e-Tron have also been used to explore wireless charging via contactless induction. You may not care about the details but if the concept takes off all you would need to do is park in a bay and a coil buried in the ground charges the car without the need to mess around with any cables. The car will even guide you in to ensure you park in exactly the right spot.
The interior is equally high-tech with a virtual cockpit that features no fewer than three OLED touchscreen control units. The lights have been replaced with something called Digital Matrix light technology that uses banks of LED’s reflecting off 1.3 million adjustable micro mirrors, each one being constantly adjusted to maximise lighting under any road conditions.
There are also laser indicators that project a visual representation on to the road surface as they flash.
Audi has even done away with the door mirrors, replacing them with tiny cameras and a video display on the inside of each door. Apparently this improves aerodynamic efficiency, eliminates blind-spots, and reduces wind noise. All of those things are true, but more importantly they’re also intensely cool.
The cabin itself has been designed with light and space in mind. A deliberately light-coloured interior, a floating centre console, and the clean lines of the touchscreen displays create a sense of openness and space.
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