Audi has finally unveiled the production e-Tron electric car in San Francisco. The event, which saw more than 1500 people airlifted in from across the world, marks the introduction of the very first production EV from the Ingolstadt-based brand.
And it’s only the beginning of the brand’s electric ambitions; Audi revealed we should see 12 SUVs in its line-up by 2025, including a Sportback e-Tron version by the end of 2019, and a further five electric Q models.
Audi e-Tron: the design story
Audi hasn’t exactly kept us in the shadows when it comes to its new electric car, so we’ve seen various prototypes and camouflaged models at motor shows and on track over the past year.
There are few shocks here: the Audi e-Tron maintains the familiar design handbook of the wider Audi family, while also incorporating a few elements that denote its all-electric powertrain. Put it this way, it won’t alienate people like Merc’s heavily stylised EQC might.
Interior: inside the Audi e-Tron electric car
Inside, the e-Tron looks a lot like a contemporary Audi, but features a few key differences which come from its EV underpinnings. Just like the A8, the e-Tron features what Audi calls a black-panel layout, although that essentially means ‘lots of touchscreens’ in non-Ingolstadt speak. Like the A8 and A7, these feature haptic feedback, and they’re also arranged in two layers – with another panel at the bottom of the centre console.
As for the specs? The electric Audi will use two electric motors, with the front producing 135kW and the rear adding 140kW of thrust. In a temporary boost mode for overtakes, that’ll increase to 135kW and 165kW, though only for around six seconds.
Both motors are near-identical, though the rear motor is slightly larger, and both are powered by a battery measuring a large 2280mm x 1630mm x 340mm – which is around the size of a double bed. With a stated capacity of 95kWh, the battery sits between the wheels in the traditional EV skateboard layout. There are 432 cells in total, but they’re arranged in to 36 shoebox-sized units, and each gets its own impact protection.
Audi says the e-Tron will be able to charge from 0-80% in 30 minutes when using 120Kw charging, and Audi has also introduced two home chargers for trickle-charging. The overnight Compact 11kW charging system will top up your e-Tron in 8.5 hours, while a smarter Charging System Connect will do it in 4.5 hours with 22kW charging, according to Ingolstadt.