The Audi e-tron is an electric SUV, and when the first versions hit UK roads in early 2019 they will be direct rivals to the Jaguar I-Pace.
Audi describes the e-tron as a milestone model for the company’s future, and according to CEO Rupert Stadler the first of many electric cars. “In 2020 we will have three all-electric vehicles in our product range, with a four-door Gran Turismo – the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept – and a model in the compact segment joining the sporty SUV,” he says.
“We will be launching more than 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2025 – spread across all segments and concepts,” Stadler adds.
Lots of room, long range
Few specific technical details of the e-tron are yet being revealed, Audi only stating that it will offer five people and their luggage similar space to one of the brand’s traditional premium cars, and offer a driving range comparable with a conventionally powered equivalent.
Recharging to 80% capacity will take less than 30 minutes at fast-charging stations with up to 150kW capacity, while the e-tron’s drivetrain will also offer full all-wheel-drive capability.
Audi is not yet quoting prices either, but confidently expects huge demand for the e-tron. Early buyers are being asked to pay a £1,000 deposit, either at dealers or on the Audi UK website, which will place them on a priority list for the first production cars.
Prior to the official launch, Audi is putting 250 examples of the e-tron, each wearing the same camouflage livery as the Geneva show display car, through an extensive testing programme. More than three million miles of testing is planned on four continents and at extremes of temperatures.
A fleet of e-trons has been driving around the streets of Geneva during the show, clearly hoping to draw some attention away from the Jaguar rival launching at the event.