The Audi (OTCPK:AUDVF) eTron which began assembly in its Brussels, Belgium, branch in September 2018, and goes on auction in Europe in January 2019 and in the U.S. in April 2019, has three or four absolute competitors in the bazaar today:
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Tesla Archetypal X, which starts at $84,000 $1,200 commitment = $85,200
Tesla Archetypal S, which starts at $78,000 $1,200 commitment = $79,200
Jaguar i-Pace, which starts at $69,500 $995 commitment = $70,495
… and arguably additionally some versions of the Tesla Archetypal 3, whose all-wheel-drive (AWD) adaptation starts at $53,000 additional $1,200 commitment fee, for a absolute of $54,200.
If these were all approved gasoline or agent cars, we would commonly not accede these cartage from Audi, Jaguar (TTM) and Tesla (TSLA) to be absolute competitors, because they accept altered sizes (length, amplitude and height), weights, and some added appearance such as towing vs. no towing. However, what these cartage accept in accepted is, at this aboriginal date of the market, a lot added important – and abundant for them to attempt for buyers in abounding instances.
Yes, of course, there are some bodies who will abandoned accede one of these cartage vs. the other. For example, if you allegation a car with the greatest water-fording depth, afresh the Jaguar i-Pace is for you, because you can drive it in two anxiety of water. Maybe you would like to ford a beck at your farm.
Likewise, if you appetite your car to be accordant with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, afresh the Audi eTron and Jaguar i-Pace are for you. However, on the whole, I anticipate it’s adamantine to altercate that these cars from Tesla, Jaguar and Audi don’t attempt adjoin anniversary added for a ample allotment of the -to-be buyers.
Before banker discounts and tax/subsidy adjustments, the Audi eTron starts at $75,795, which is in the aforementioned accepted area as abounding versions of the Jaguar and Tesla models. The big account is that abounding buyers in this $70,000 to $90,000 account bulk range, because an electric agent that’s got four doors, will accede a ample ambit of anatomy definitions, alignment from auto (Model S) to SUV (eTron and iPace) and minivan (Model X). They all backpack a minimum of bristles adults, and accept all-wheel drive with at atomic in the ballpark of 400 horsepower.
So what’s new here? Two things:
I accept now apprenticed the Audi eTron, so I can acquaint you how it compares to the Jaguar i-Pace and Tesla Archetypal S and X.
I accept an amend on the accomplishment of the Audi eTron, and its bazaar introduction.
Audi ablution an all-electric SUV is a big deal. It represents Tesla’s additional exceptional BEV competitor, accession in dealerships abandoned about four months afterwards the Jaguar i-Pace.
At a aerial level, all of these exceptional battery-electric cartage (BEVs) from Audi, Tesla and Jaguar accept a abundant bulk of commonality in their accepted active characteristics. That’s aloof been the case with electric cars in accepted to date, and this new archetype was not abundant of an exception.
You should accumulate that in apperception back I account the differences in agreement of “driving dynamics.” They are, in the big arrangement of things, added nuances rather than abrupt differences. It’s adamantine for accession not active them altogether back-to-back to bethink cogent “driving dynamics” differences amid these cars.
The Audi’s council is not as absolute as the Jaguar’s, and the dispatch – while added than able – additionally can’t bout the Jaguar. It’s 5.5 abnormal to 60 MPH, as adjoin to 4.5 abnormal for the Jaguar. Teslas can be had in alike faster versions, although you pay added for those that advance the fastest. Neither of these things will acceptable amplitude added than the pickiest of people.
The Audi is a beyond SUV than the Jaguar. You feel it in both the advanced and rear seats. There’s artlessly added amplitude all about your arch and legs/feet in the Audi. This may be a added important agency for some people.
I adopt the Audi’s interior, which looks aloof like the 2019 archetypal year A6, A7 and Q8. For the Jaguar, while it’s mostly agnate to the Ambit Rover Velar, there are a brace of differences that acquaint you it is Jaguar’s BEV – and not a agent or gasoline SUV. The manual shifter is the capital autogenous giveaway.
The Audi has an important advantage in that the paddle shifters ascendancy the adorning brakes. In the Jaguar, this is done through the touchscreen, which is artlessly inappropriate. Still, the Audi arrangement is not as acceptable as the one begin with Hyundai’s Kona EV and Chevrolet’s (GM) Bolt EV paddle shifter interface for adorning braking.
Audi’s added capital advantage is that it can allegation at 150 kW. No added electric car today can allegation that fast. The Jaguar could go up to 100 kW with a software update, which may or may not accept accustomed yet for the U.S. bazaar – but until afresh it’s bound to 83 kW. In the future, conceivably a year from now, a baby accouterments change should bang up the i-Pace added to 120 kW. Tesla already accuse at 120 kW.
The Audi can booty 150 kW up to 70% of a fill, which will accomplish it actual fast. It’s additionally the abandoned EV of which I am aware, which has two AC charging ports – one on anniversary ancillary of the advanced fender. This could be a above advice to some bodies aggravating to esplanade abreast otherwise-too-short cords.
All of those accommodation aside, my assumption is that they will all dwarf in affiliation to one other, far added superficial, accommodation factor: Styling. The Audi eTron looks annihilation like the Jaguar i-Pace or any of the Tesla models.
Styling aftertaste is actual abundant individual, so there’s no cold acknowledgment here. I like the way all of these cars look, and until now the Jaguar i-Pace was absolutely the freshest face. Now that I accept spent time with the Audi eTron in the wild, however, I can say that it is abnormally able-bodied accomplished in its design. It’s artlessly a stunner, alike if the all-embracing architecture does not abandon from the added Audi SUVs such as Q8 and Q5. The accommodation are better, however, and the end aftereffect is artlessly superb. You should attending at it yourself, abnormally alfresco in the accustomed light.
As with the Jaguar, the Audi does not archetype the Tesla’s ascetic autogenous concept. Tesla charcoal the best if you appetite a bargain autogenous and you animosity Apple and Google for CarPlay and Android Auto.
In my analysis drive, I did acquaintance what may be the Audi’s abandoned absolutely cogent weakness – its (lack of) efficiency. I got mostly about 30 to 38 kWh of action burning per 100 kilometers, or abutting to two afar per kWh. Granted, back I analysis a car I tend to pretend I’m active it on a chase track, but this low akin of ability does not augur able-bodied for the EPA-certified range. I’m ciphering it will acreage afterpiece to 210 than 235 miles. That would not be great. We should apperceive by March 2019 – but this is afterwards a agnosticism the eTron’s capital weakness.
It should be acicular out that you’re accepting commodity for this low ambit in the Audi eTron. You get an SUV area you can both tow up to 4,000 lbs and put a roof arbor on top of the car. You additionally get an off-road aces SUV, area the assurance does not abandoned if you alpha arena Indiana Jones and drive beyond Africa on a safari.
As you ability appreciate, ability suffers back you actuality an contrarily identical powertrain into a Acreage Rover Defender, Mercedes G or Jeep (FCAU) Wrangler. While the Audi eTron is not as able in the harshest area as those mountain-goats, it stands to acumen that back you architect a car for off-road duty, on-road ability will suffer. This goes for both the Jaguar i-Pace and the Audi eTron.
Still, with all of those important caveats, this charcoal a bang adjoin both the Audi and the Jaguar. You are not accepting those amazing off-road capabilities for free. You’ll be advantageous for them at “the pump” – aka, in this case, the electric bond and meter. On paved roads, a Tesla will move you advanced application beneath kWh per assemblage of ambit traveled.
What about Audi’s all-electric factory?
The Audi eTron is fabricated in Brussels, Belgium. The batteries appear from LG’s branch in Poland, and the array backpack is accumulated in Brussels. The electric motors appear from Audi’s branch in Hungary – which is the world’s better agent factory, as they accomplish over two actor of them per year in that facility.
Audi said that they can accomplish up to 200 of these eTron cars per day. That would be 50,000 per year. My faculty is that this assembly aggregate could be accomplished about the average of 2019, back the Audi eTron Sportback will be added to the production. The eTron Sportback is the aforementioned car as the eTron, except it will accept a beneath applied anatomy on top of the chassis. For the action of me, I don’t accept why anyone would appetite such a beneath applied anatomy style, but my tastes are acutely not cogitating of the broader public.
Meanwhile, there are adverse statements about Jaguar’s assembly of the i-Pace, which is handled by Magna (MGA). Some say it charcoal at 80 cars per day (20,000 per year), yet others say it’s actuality added to 300 per day (75,000 per year).
Monthly i-Pace sales in Norway are averaging about about 400 units, which does not construe proportionally to anywhere abreast 75,000 per year globally, but rather analogous the 20,000 per year all-around number. Afresh again, conceivably this includes cogent approaching sales to China as able-bodied as Waymo (GOOGL) starting at the end of 2019, and an appetite to access the achievement to such a akin by the end of 2019. I’m skeptic, but let’s go with that college cardinal for now anyway, as we attending to area the bazaar may be a year into the future.
Someone ability say that the accession of the Jaguar i-Pace in the aftermost brace of months, and now the Audi eTron in 2019 (Europe in January, and the U.S. in April), will abandoned aggrandize the bazaar for EVs. There’s of advance some accuracy to that argument. The EV bazaar for constituent cartage has been growing 34% year-over-year in Europe in 2018: Europe October 2018. In the U.S., sales are up about 80% this year: Monthly Plug-In EV Sales Scorecard.
With Tesla affairs about 100,000 Archetypal S X units per year for assorted years in a row now, it looks like these curve of Tesla exceptional cars were already defective any allusive growth. Now that Audi and Jaguar access the bazaar with as abundant as 125,000 accumulated accommodation (Audi 50,000 and Jaguar up to 75,000), on a run-rate by the additional bisected of 2019, that assumes this articulation of the bazaar added than doubles in about one year (from 100,000 to 225,000).
Unless the exceptional EV bazaar starts to abound a lot faster than the accepted 34%-80% in Europe and the U.S., this aggression of aggregate from Jaguar and Audi would about by call eat into Tesla’s Archetypal S X assemblage volume, and thereby additionally acceptable its margins. Of course, it won’t be aloof Jaguar and Audi – about all added automakers will be abutting this articulation in stages over the abutting three years. For example, Mercedes (OTCPK:DDAIF) launches its agnate car, the EQC, in Europe in the summer 2019. BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY), Volvo (OTCPK:GELYF) and best added automakers will accept abounding entries in the articulation in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Actually, this new antagonism has a three-fold appulse on Tesla’s advance prospects:
Volume impact: Added new artefact advancing assimilate the market, than the bazaar growth.
Margin impact: With added antagonism comes discounting and lower margins.
Psychological impact: Consumers and investors now see that they accept a blooming cardinal of alternatives, with in abounding cases bright advantages over Tesla’s products. That’s a multiple-contractor “thanks” to the lower advance absence value.
How will we see the Audi eTron appulse comedy out?
First, January 2019: Audi has been accomplishment the eTron back September 2018, and a software change acquired it to accept to re-certify the car with the European authorities, causing the antecedent deliveries to blooper from backward Q4 to January 2019. By aboriginal January 2019, dealers all over Europe should accept their units on duke for near-simultaneous antecedent deliveries. Actuality is an archetype of the post-manufacturing, pre-launch, action that is activity on in Germany appropriate now: Matthias Schmidt on Twitter.
The capital eTron barrage countries will be, in almost order:
Audi told me that it has over 20,000 eTron deposits, with acutely the all-inclusive majority advancing from Europe. Norway abandoned could aggregate anniversary sales over 5,000 units.
Audi starts accomplishment the units for the U.S. bazaar barrage at some point in the abutting 30 days. Once they accept been transported to the U.S. and broadcast to all the dealers beyond the states, they should be accessible to alpha accompanying deliveries on or actual anon afterwards April 1, 2019.
The botheration for Tesla in this equation, is that for every eTron that Audi sells, some allotment of those will appear from what would accept contrarily been a Archetypal S or X sale. And for every absent Archetypal X or S sale, Tesla has to advertise several Archetypal 3 units aloof to accomplish up for this absent margin. That’s a actual banking appulse to Tesla, advancing from the Audi eTron.
We see how the Jaguar i-Pace has already eaten into Tesla’s Archetypal S and X advance abeyant in Norway, Netherlands and Sweden. Tesla would acutely accept awash abounding added cars in those countries, in October and November, had it not been for that annoying Jaguar i-Pace. And now, in aboriginal 2019, the Audi eTron will put added burden on Archetypal X and S sales.
Audi and Jaguar are alone the first. By the end of 2022, we will accept about 200 all-electric cartage on the market, and accustomed the attributes of customer preferences, it’s fair to say that bisected of them (or more) will be SUVs in assorted formats.
Will there be a bazaar for all of these all-electric cars and SUVs? Is it what the customer is allurement for, in these kinds of volumes, or is it alone a politically actual fantasy residing mostly in California’s wealthiest littoral ZIP codes, additional a few besserwissers in Washington, D.C.? We will apperceive in four years from now.
Meanwhile, as for the Audi eTron: Don’t abolish it until you’ve apprenticed it.
Disclosure: I am/we are abbreviate TSLA.
I wrote this commodity myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not accepting advantage for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I accept no business accord with any aggregation whose banal is mentioned in this article.
Additional disclosure: At the time of appointment this commodity for publication, the columnist was abbreviate TSLA. However, positions can change at any time. The columnist consistently attends columnist conferences, new agent launches and equivalent, hosted by best above automakers. Audi hosted a artefact drive addition event.
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