On Monday September 17, Audi unveiled the e-tron, a $75,000 all-electric SUV.
Audi has begun to accept reservations for the e-tron and expects to be able to begin shipping the new model by the second quarter of 2019.
The e-tron is designed to appeal to mainstream consumers who are interested in an electric vehicle (EV), but prefer the familiar design of a standard gasoline car.
Executive Publisher Karl Brauer of Cox Automotive says, “The (e-tron) features standard-issue Audi design cues, meaning a beautiful interior and exterior execution. … For electric vehicle doubters, plenty of which remain, the e-tron will mark an important threshold on the path to widespread EV adoption.”
For now, the EV market remains a modest one percent of new-car sales.
Audi created the car with the intent of participating in what they expect will be an ever-growing segment of the car market.
Audi of America President Scott Keogh says, “This is a full-stop Audi, backed by a network of hundreds of dealerships and a company with more than 100 years in the business,” and “Tesla deserves massive credit from moving electric vehicles away from just being cars for a quirky market, they went luxury. … Our message for anyone considering an electric car is simply, we want our day in court.”
The e-tron SUV seats five and the interior is styled as a standard-issue luxurious German sport-ute. The car features all-wheel-drive, a 4,000-pound towing capacity and similar to Tesla’s design, contains twin-electric motors in the front and rear of the car with the lithium-ion battery along the car floor.
Audi has yet to disclose the range of the vehicle, but has announced an uncharged e-tron can hit 80 percent of battery capacity in 30 minutes using a fast charger.
Amazon will be providing “Audi Home Charging” with up front pricing and installation for charging units. Audi also announced Alexa will be a part of the Audi car.
Notably, U.S. buyers won’t receive the latest side-mirror, or rather, lack-of-side-mirror technology that is legal in Europe. The Euro model contains small rear facing, door mounted cameras that project an image of what’s behind the car onto small screens on both the driver and passenger doors.
Audi announced the SUV e-tron a mere weeks after the reveal of the ambitious sports car PB e-tron, a car that can go 0-60 miles per hour in two seconds with a driver’s seat that can shift to the middle for a racecar-like experience.
Audi also intends to reveal the e-tron GT concept, which looks to be a direct competitor to the Model S, at the Los Angeles auto show in November.
Next year, Porsche is scheduled to unveil its first electric sedan, the Teycon. Audi and Porsche, both part of the VW Group, are expected to collaborate on a series of platforms to electrify a large range of models in both companies by 2025.
Jaguar’s I-PACE has been considered the first serious challenger to Tesla in the EV Market.
The I-PACE tilts slightly towards Tesla’s futuristic design while Audi’s e-tron SUV remains squarely in today’s luxury SUV market.
Both Audi and Jaguar abstained from taking Tesla on directly with a sedan design, and instead went straight for the SUV market, as 53 percent of U.S. car sales are accounted for by SUVs.
“The premium EV race is about to get interesting,” says Brauer, noting 10 new players are expected to enter the electric car market over the next two years.
To learn more about changes in the car market, visit CrossCheck’s blog.