Watch out Tesla: Electric Audi e-tron GT set to hit New Zealand in 2021
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
“We will trade in a Tesla,” says Audi NZ GM Dean Sheed with the confidence of the looming product releases. The e-tron EV SUV, launched in NZ mid-year was just the beginning of an assault of Audi EVs over the coming years.
As significant cars go, the e-tron rates rather high in the Audi line-up and future. The all-electric SUV launched mid-year with a range of new features and a range of more than 400km – and significantly for the brand, it’s also just the first in the line of EV models headed for New Zealand. Dean Sheed is also a board member of Drive Electric, so there’s enthusiasm for EVs from two angles.
As part of the brand’s electrification, there will be a whole new range of models that will feature hybrid or full electric technology. “There will be a new e-tron entry point”, adds Jarrod Ho, Audi Sales Operations Manager, referring to the e-tron 50. This will use a slightly smaller capacity battery that will drop range from 417km to 342km, at a lower price point of $134,900, which represents a ten-percent saving over the current 55 e-tron’s $148,500 entry price.
Then there will be the e-tron Sportback, due at the end of 2020, plus the e-tron S, that will add further expand the Audi EV range, and utilize the technology of a new generation of Quattro, via three electric motors.
Read more: Inside the lavish Audi e-tron global reveal
Infrastructure has also received a big investment with 50kW chargers in every Audi NZ dealership , and three of them upgrading to 175kW charging stations, which means substantially faster charging. Accoding to Sheed: “350kW [charging] is utopia, because it’s around 10-12 minutes to fully charge an EV battery, which is about the same time it takes to refuel a typical petrol or diesel car at the petrol station.” The current e-tron 55 can take up to 150kW charging.
Battery cost is also an issue, however Sheed briefly explained that dead or low performing individual cells can be replaced more economically than an entire battery pack. “We can diagnose and replace any of the 140 cells within a battery pack,” he explains of Audi’s EV vehicles. “And we can access it from underneath.”
But the real excitement isn’t far away, enthuses Sheed: “Next year will be the year of Audi Sport and electrification for us … we’ll have a new SQ5 electrically charged diesel engine, with 700Nm. Diesel is still good for reducing CO2 emissions.
“The first car [launched] for 2020 [globally] will be e-tron GT, a four door coupe. It’s one of the most beautiful cars Audi has designed, with 350kW charging … and 434kW of power and 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds with electric quattro. It’s the brother/sister car for the Porsche Taycan.
“Porsche will set a new standard for performance a production EV [with the Taycan]. I think it will have a very positive impact.
Finishing with an ETA for the Audi e-tron GT, “It’ll be early 2021 for us.”