It seems odd at first, to be active the all-electric 2019 Audi e-tron in the oil-rich Middle East. But alike the United Arab Emirates, a country abate than Maine sitting on 6 percent of the world’s oil reserves, can’t abstain the clean-energy future. Within a few decades, the UAE’s near-bottomless oil wells could be as admired as a basement abounding of AOL free-hours billowing disks. As a assurance of the alteration times, the country that currently gets 98 percent of its activity from deposit fuels is in the bosom of amalgam the two better solar adeptness plants in the world.
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That creates a applicable alongside with Audi’s aboriginal banal electric vehicle. Audi’s ancestor company, the Volkswagen Group, is one of the world’s better automakers. Virtually all of the 10.5 actor cartage it awash in 2017 are powered by deposit fuels, and a costly, low-volume EV affairs such as this won’t advance the company’s basal band anytime soon. But aloof as the Stone Age didn’t end because bodies ran out of stones, the oil-powered abridgement will run dry afore the wells do. The Audi e-tron is a bet, a anticipation of what comes next.
If it foreshadows the future, the e-tron is additionally actual abundant of the moment. Electric motors drive the avant-garde and rear axles, a 1543-pound arrangement of lithium-ion array beef rides below the floor, and a mid-size SUV adhesive casts it into the thickest allotment of the affluence auto market. In a brace of years’ time, the e-tron will be aloof one alms in this absolutely formed electro-ute segment, with entrants from Tesla, Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and possibly alike startup Rivian. Audi is not talking about EPA ambit aloof yet (more on that later), but we doubtable the $75,795 e-tron will acquire an appraisal aloof arctic of 200 miles. So it won’t accommodate the electric-range game. It won’t accommodate the abstraction of an Audi, either. Alike as Audi electrified the affection of this SUV, it larboard the brand’s appearance absolutely intact. The e-tron looks like an Audi, drives like an Audi, and, hell, alike sounds like an Audi.
The accommodation to hew abutting to Audi’s accustomed architectonics accent and accustomed agent attributes should affluence the alteration from gas to electrons for the brand’s accepted customers. It additionally makes the e-tron the anti-Tesla of sorts. Whereas active a Tesla is the arch anti-establishment account six abstracts can buy, the e-tron suggests a added accustomed change for our accepted automotive institutions.
In the e-tron, there are no Spaceballs Easter eggs or accompanying Ludicrous acceleration. The Audi’s avant-garde motor puts out 168 application and 182 lb-ft of torque while the rear contributes addition 188 ponies and 232 lb-ft. It won’t leave you breathless, but the e-tron takes off with the ascendancy and adjacency we’ve appear to apprehend from electric cars. Moving the accessory selector from Drive to Sport increases achievement of the avant-garde motor by 13 application and 46 lb-ft, with the rear assemblage abacus 33 ponies and 30 lb-ft to its total, but alone for eight-second stints. Push through the kick-down detent at the basal of the accelerator to admission that power, and the alleged Boost approach is said to trim about a abounding additional from the zero-to-60-mph run. We adumbrate a 5.6-second birr to 60 mph for the 5500-pound e-tron in this mode-quick, but not radically so.
Built on a different architecture, the e-tron borrows abounding of its bolt-on apparatus from the Volkswagen Group’s MLB Evo platform. It rides on air springs and adaptive dampers that accommodate accurately controlled anatomy motions. The UAE’s roads, as bland as the wind-swept landscape, attending as if they were paved bygone and action few opportunities to appraise the ride quality. But flung bottomward a washboard clay alley at 45 mph, the e-tron calmly sopped up the harshness. Over a abbreviate acropolis climb, the administration accepted as anticipated and adamant as any Audi’s, with front-end anchor abrasion out continued afore the rear end anytime threatens to let go. A brake-by-wire arrangement cautiously blends up to 0.30 g of adorning braking with the electrohydraulically assisted abrasion brakes while steering-wheel-mounted paddles toggle through three levels of ascent adorning braking.
In the attitude of Audi’s internal-combustion models, the e-tron’s berth is affably serene at speed. As wide, flat, and abandoned as the arid that they cut through, the highways surrounding Abu Dhabi action dispatch banned that occasionally amplitude aloft 87 mph to 99 mph. Alike at those velocities and by the standards accustomed by beforehand EVs, the e-tron is a tomb. An acoustically careful windshield and ancillary bottle and all-encompassing underbody insulation block the din of wind and alley babble that would contrarily abounding the acoustic abandoned created by the absence of an internal-combustion engine. Added impressive, Audi has all but alone the high-frequency beef that’s accepted in EVs during acceleration. The e-tron’s motors are encapsulated central polyurethane boxes and army to the subframes through elastic bushings (the rear subframe is additionally rubber-isolated from the anatomy structure) to abstract babble and vibration.
The berth is additionally a modern, high-tech wonder. With the aforementioned MMI Touch Response arrangement acclimated in the Q8 and Audi’s abounding cars, a brace of pressure-sensitive haptic-feedback touchscreens ascendancy about aggregate alfresco of steering, braking, and accelerating. The agenda apparatus array can be abounding with Google Earth navigation. Because the e-tron avalanche amid a Q5 and a Q7 in exoteric length, it offers abounding rear-seat amplitude for two adults to calmly outlive the battery’s range.
At the time of our analysis drive, Audi would say alone that the e-tron will beat 248 afar of ambit on Europe’s optimistic WLTP test. Engineers and marketers wouldn’t brainstorm on a U.S. EPA estimate, but that won’t stop us from accomplishing so. Consider the Jaguar I-Pace, an architecturally agnate agent with avant-garde and rear motors accretion 394 application and a 90.0-kWh array congenital from lithium-ion beef supplied by LG Chem, the aforementioned supplier Audi uses. Jag’s I-Pace ante at 234 afar by EPA alignment and 292 afar on the WLTP cycle. Applying a agnate allotment accident for the e-tron and bold Audi doesn’t acutely overshoot its 248-mile WLTP promise, we apprehend an EPA ambit hardly aloft 200 miles, a almost baby cardinal because the big array pack. What gives?
For one, Audi uses aloof 81.0 kWh of the e-tron’s 95.0-kWh capacity. Every automaker leaves a absorber to assure the constancy of the pack, but Audi appears artlessly bourgeois here. Jaguar pushes its abate array harder, application 84.7 kWh of the I-Pace’s 90.0-kWh capacity. Then there’s the catechism of efficiency, an avant-garde calculus of aerodynamic drag, friction, and losses via the electronics and array administration system. Like the I-Pace afore it, we anticipate, the e-tron’s EPA ambit will add to the affirmation that, beneath the hype, Tesla absolutely does authority a abstruse advantage in addition added afar from its electrons. The Model X 100D, which is beyond and added than the e-tron, extracts 295 afar of EPA ambit from its 100.0-kWh pack.
Tesla charcoal advisedly in ultimate ambit and electric acceleration, but this Audi carries advantages in far beneath adult aspects. With added than 100 years of car-building experience, Audi has strengths area Tesla has dark spots. The e-tron rolls out of the Brussels, Belgium, branch that ahead congenital the Audi A1 with all the acquaintance and purchasing adeptness of the world’s better automaker. Accordingly, the e-tron exhibits the archetypal Audi body quality. When deliveries alpha in the United States in bounce of 2019, the car will be awash and serviced by Audi’s civic arrangement of 304 dealers. The array will be backed by an eight-year warranty-effectively an EV accepted at this point-but should article fail, your bounded dealer’s account administration will accept the adeptness to alter any of the 36 array modules rather than the absolute pack.
On AC power, the e-tron can recharge at up to 11 kilowatts, which will acquiesce it to add breadth added bound than the slow-charging Jaguar I-Pace with its 7-kW charger. How that translates into a miles-per-hour-of-charging amount will accept to delay until there’s article added official from Audi or the EPA. There’s additionally accepted 150-kW DC fast-charging capability, and while such charging stations are attenuate on the arena currently, we apprehend to see them accumulate with the advance of Electrify America, the EV-infrastructure aggregation seeded with $2 billion as allotment of the Volkswagen Group’s emissions-cheating settlement. In the U.S., the e-tron appearance a charging anchorage on anniversary ancillary of the vehicle, with both amid on the avant-garde fenders; the driver’s ancillary is for AC charging and DC fast charging, while the commuter ancillary is alone for AC charging. (Curiously, in Europe, the additional charging anchorage is an option.) European e-trons additionally can additionally be able with cameras in abode of side-view mirrors, but these will be kept from our bazaar due to U.S. regulations. While the accepted mirrors do access the e-tron’s annoyance coefficient, we begin the camera’s baby screens in the doors to be abominably positioned.
Between the Tesla Model X, the Jaguar I-Pace, and the Audi e-tron, the affluence electric account articulation now offers three audible characters. The Tesla is the futurist, breaking bond rules and blame lithium-ion array technology to its limits. Jaguar builds the driver’s choice, a advanced architectonics with sports-sedan moves. With the e-tron, Audi presents the traditionalist. Sure, it delivers the avant-garde administration and bleeding-edge infotainment Audi is accepted for, but this is as abutting as an electric agent comes to the acceptable luxury-car experience. For buyers who abide to be agnostic of battery-electric technology, the e-tron has the best adventitious of actuality the oil that greases the alteration from gas cartage to EVs.
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