The irony of tearing through the oil-rich desert in the United Arab Emirates in the new Audi 2019 e-tron, a purely electric SUV, is enough to make a giggle. On a windswept dune somewhere between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi lies Audi's vision for the future of mobility. The metaphorical game of the king of the (fuel) hill becomes literal. Electrification is here, and it wants to bring fossil fuels back into the past.
The choice of Audi in the Middle East as a perfect backdrop for the first foray into all-electric vehicles was no coincidence. Tester E-Trons were assigned in Masdar City, an urban residential and commercial oasis on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, which was built specifically CO2-emission-free. The promise of Masdar for a future without fossil fuels, heavily funded by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, is still in full swing. The construction should be completed in ten years. Although it is now more of a ghost town than a booming example of renewable energy, this is the beginning of the tide turn.
And that's something the parent company of Audi, the Volkswagen Group, can rely heavily on To launch 27 electric vehicles with a price of $ 50 billion by 2022, a solid start for this boost, a luxury battery electric vehicle that is based on Audi DNA.
This means that the e -tron is a big love: Audi did not want to reinvent the electric car – a market segment in which already Tesla's model X and Jaguar I-Pace and soon Mercedes are represented -Benz & # 39; EQC and Rivian's R1S: Rather than radical swoopings, designers tend to put the e-tron loo on electric vehicles Like any other Audi, the band rolls off the band: modern, clean, sporty and slightly aggressive – it's even nicer in person, especially when in Antigua Blue Metallic is dipped.
Indoors, the finer comfort of creatures awaits you: piles of Valcona leather, fine grained ash inserts, massaging seats, contoured LED lighting, the easy-to-use multimedia Interface (distributed over several large touchscreens), a Bang & Olufsen speaker system and more. Large legroom in the rear means that passengers with a height of over six feet do not need to be cramped conditions and the lack of a conventional powertrain
Underneath the base plate is a 95 kWh battery pack that drives two motors, one per axle, but together they provide up to 408 hp and a torque of 489 lb. ft. The system is punchy, but it's not "ridiculous" fast, like a Model X. The shuffle on 6 0 takes 6.6 seconds, but a boost mode – a session of ten seconds customers, in which the engines overdrive the maximum power by matting the accelerator pedal – will shorten by one second at this time.
On the flat, silky smooth roads of Abu Dhabi, the e-tron proves to be a Sedat motorway cruiser: the assistance systems help with acceleration, braking and lane changes with ease Although the outer camera system was more of an obstacle than a help in place of conventional mirrors Small OLED screens in the doors under the cameras Take some getting used to, because this is not the natural place to check your eye traditional mirrors will fall off, but over time, drivers will probably adapt (Audis lobbying for the system that comes to the US, although it is currently only approved for Europe.)
One reason for the background of the cameras is To increase efficiency while reducing noise money for the pursuit of "the sound of silence", as the engineers internally the project Consumers of internal combustion engines are not concerned with the engine noise and the accompanying road noise, which is largely due to conventional wing mirrors intersecting the air. However, a Battery Electric customer wants a pin to drop at 70 mph, so Audi has been using it in places it has not used before. Foam is everywhere in the door panels, even in the wheels to calm the tires. The efforts of the e-tron engineers have been successful: they clearly hear the breathing of a passenger as he pushes down the highway 80.
The ride itself is supple in comfort mode and stiffens slightly when sports mode is activated A 1,500-pound battery in the center of the chassis ensures No matter how hard you beat the 5,500-pound fool, Torque-Vectoring holds the power for the wheels you need most, even under the most dynamic driving conditions, such as flying in the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road near Abu Dhabi: There is no understeer, and the adaptive air suspension borrowed from the Q7 helps the E-Tron to turn on just fine when and where you want, under hard acceleration, but that will become future owners Probably not bothering.
What motivates the prospective buyers is the range of the e-tron. Audi coyly rejected requests stating that all would be revealed after the EPA rating, but the unofficial K onsens is that the e-tron has a capacity to reach between 200 and 220 miles. That's almost a third less than the 295-mile range of Tesla's Model X 100D. Even Jag's I-Pace reaches 234 miles while the E-Tron is nearby, he is still competing. As we covered more than 300 miles with a mid-charge break, the energy was released faster than expected, but we were on highways with a speed limit of more than 100 points, so our test drive was not an indicator of a real use case.
While range anxiety is a real concern for some shoppers, manufacturers are attempting to turn the conversation around with trolls shoppers from these statistics to another consideration: load time. And Audi is not half as bad – the standard figure is the time to charge up to 80 percent because the battery cells are unable to accept electrons so quickly the more they receive, and the Audi in 27 minutes This is an eon compared to filling the gas tank, but compared to the 40 minutes that a model X needs for a compressor, that's pretty fast when you switch to a fast charger (level 3 DC 150k kW) They can be 100 percent in 45 minutes You can also use normal 240-volt outlets to get a full charge There are ports for both sides of the e-tron, but do not plan on at least nine, possibly 12 hours to go somewhere. (The Volkswagen Group is working with Electrify America to give E-Tron owners access to more than 500 fast-charging vehicles in 40 states this summer, and owners will receive 1,000 kWh for free, allowing for 2,000 miles of driving.)
With a battery-powered electric vehicle, the game is called efficiency. With some throttle and brake considerations in mind, the E-Tron can help recover an admirable portion of the energy it consumes. The existing Audi program Predictive Efficiency Assistant helps train drivers by using GPS routes and their cameras to monitor other vehicles and traffic signs. If the computer detects a slowdown in advance, a small green foot symbol will flash in your dashboard. This will let you know that you must release the throttle and let the car run out. In cities where car-to-x is activated, your Audi will know that it has a red light and makes you aware of it. Stick to the proposal, and you should not have to use the brakes to come to a complete stop, as we have repeatedly experienced in Abu Dhabi.
But how the EUV recovers the energy is really innovative: the e-tron uses a brake by-wire system, where the engines slow the car down and recuperate the energy from the wheels, but you do not need 90 percent of them to stop under 0.03 grams, so if you step on the brake pedal, you're actually using it no hydraulic brakes but a tiny fluid container behind it The firewall fills up and simulates a traditional brake pedal feeling, but the engines do the work themselves. It's easy to read this and not think much of it, but this is a huge one Deal like no other electric car has ever done that, with a Tesla brake e Brakes and the hydraulic brakes bite the rotor. Recuperation is added, but Audi sees this method as a waste of energy and decided ingeniously to separate the two systems. Granted, the e-tron can tell if you really need friction brakes and they work absolutely, but even in hard driving, we've only seen these steps in about ten percent of the time.
For example, when we climbed up Jebel Hafeet Mountain, we burned about 12kWh, but the system was able to return about 10kWh to the battery on the way back. Not too shabby, e-tron.
Most importantly, all this technology leads to an exceedingly fun driving experience offered the opportunity to turn the e-tron into off-road mode If you did not drive a 5,500-lbSUV sideways through sand dunes, I recommend that. Even on the straight at speeds over 80, the e-tron happily dropped the sandy bumps and laughed at it This is not a typical use case for an electric vehicle worth $ 74,800, but certainly a seditious one.
While audis e-tron is not the fastest, fastest, or most radical-looking electric SUV, it is the perfect crossover vehicle for People who want to turn off combustion cars in favor of a hard vehicle use future visions.