The Audi e-tron all-electric crossover will enter the market next year. The automaker held its large-scale presentation in the UAE. Journalists could appreciate the e-tron after a 250-mile run through the desert.
The route started from an eco-oasis in Masdar City and passed by camel farms and sand dunes. A group of journalist took part in the race.
Power comes with polite confidence
Bradley Berman, InsideEVs journalist, was among the first to experience the e-tron. He says that the response of the crossover’s powerplant to pressing the accelerator pedal is not as sharp as we expect from an electric car. The power, of course, is felt, but comes, as Mr. Berman notes, with a polite confidence.
The Audie-tron’s powertrain includes two electric motors, one on each axis. Their total power reaches 400 hp.
We are not going to overtake Tesla
Creating the e-tron, Audi engineers tried to combine comfort, cargo space, reliability and all-terrain features. At the same time, the crossover actually opens a new segment of practical electric cars, more precisely, joins it, since the more compact Jaguar I-Pace is already present in this new niche.
Carter Balkcom, Audi’s electric vehicle marketing manager, said on the eve of the run that the company’s goal was not to outrun Tesla. Instead, the automaker will focus on its strengths: high-quality manufacturing, sales and service.
The 100-mile part of the road was a straight highway leading to the Sheikh Zayedtraining center in the desert, Berman writes. Driving at a speed from 50 to 85 miles per hour (80-140 km/h) on a monotonous sun-drenched road, silence became the most remarkable feature of the crossover.
Thomas Steener, Audi’s automotive audio engineer, said the e-tron’s cabin was a very airtight one. The electric car uses special multilayer windows. Foam fills all the voids in the wheel wells, audio resins and many other technologies to limit the driver and passengers from road noise. The strategy worked so well that the e-tron did not use active noise cancellation from the speakers.
The crossover perfectly and with a certain aplomb coped with the climb to Jebel Hafeet, a rocky limestone peak that rises 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above the desert.
It took 5.7 seconds for the e-tron to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph), which means the official figures are confirmed.
The compromise between efficiency, practicality and safety
After the recovery of energy, rolling down the slope the delegation arrived at the Training Center with 27% of the nominal 95kWh battery charge. Audi has developed a 150 kW fast charger. A pit stop along the way for about 30 minutes can restore a battery for 180 miles (290 km) of run.
However, not every charging station can be used. Therefore, it takes more time to recharge the battery.
Audi recognized that the official autonomy reserve figures would be 230-240 miles (370-390 km). It’s clear that with a rated battery power of 95 kWh the e-tron may be one of the least efficient electric cars of the new generation with a long range.
However, a question arises here: do we really need these additional miles / kilometers to the detriment of practicality, performance, off-road capability and, most importantly, safety. A very heavy safety cage is used on the Audi e-tron. However, the new crossover is quite large. It surpasses the Audi Q5 by size.