Kia ora, e-tron: Audi's first fully electric car prepares for Kiwi launch
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Audi has been among New Zealand’s early adopters of electrified motoring with its plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron Sportback and Q7 e-tron SUV duo.
The German marque is days away from making its move into full-electric cars.
Badged as the e-tron, Audi’s first all-electric production vehicle is a large SUV. It officially launches in New Zealand next week and the initial shipment of demonstrators and customer cars has been shipped out to the Audi dealer network this week.
Interest in the e-tron was spiked by pre-launch activity, including four left-hand drive vehicles here for a nationwide dealership tour.
Depending on shipping schedules, it’s hoped that nearly 100 e-trons will be delivered before the end of this year. Most of the first-year allocation has been pre-sold and Audi NZ says it’s pressing hard to secure additional production.
The e-tron is slightly smaller than the new Q8 but larger than a Q5. It boasts 265kW output (300kW in boost mode) with a 95kWh lithium-ion battery to achieved an estimated 417km driving range (based on the European WLTP test procedure).
The e-tron accelerates from 0-100km/h in 5.7s using boost mode and combined energy consumption between 26.2kWh/100km and 22.5kWh/100km.
A twin motor system enables electric quattro all-wheel drive and other features include adaptive air suspension and adaptive cruise control with efficiency assist — helping the driver to drive economically by braking and accelerating the Audi e-tron predictively.
The high-voltage battery is supported by multiple charging options. An onboard AC charging system can be used with a 230-volt household outlet or the recommended 32-amp industrial plug which allows overnight charging. Alternatively, it has DC fast charging capability at up to 150kW at public charge points.
The two versions available are badged as the e-tron 55 quattro. The numerical designation is Audi’s new model nomenclature that puts a value on performance levels rather than indicating engine displacement or outputs.
The two models are identical in terms of powertrain, performance and driving range with the standard model priced from $148,500 while the Advanced grade is $157,000.
Wheel size and style differentiates the two models with 19in alloys and 255/55 R19 tyres fitted to the standard model while the Advanced rides on 20in alloys with a five-double spoke design and matt titanium look finish along with 255/50 R20 tyres.
The Advanced specification also gains a head-up display, 360-degree camera, Milano leather seat trim and an interior design with gloss black operating buttons and matt brushed dark aluminium decorative inlays.
A wide range of options is offered including a panorama sunroof ($4200), Night Vision Assist ($6000), a 730-watt Bang & Olufsen premium audio system with 19 speakers ($3200), four-zone climate control ($2100) and a range of 20in and 21in alloy wheel options.
A $5800 Technology Pack option for the Advanced model adds Matrix LED headlights, ambient lighting and virtual exterior mirrors — a world-first in a series production model. Integrated into each of the mirror supports is a small camera. Its images are displayed on high-contrast OLED displays inside the vehicle.
Driven will cover Audi’s launch next week, which will showcase the e-tron’s range capability and quattro all-wheel drive prowess.