First drive: Audi's new e-tron Sportback hits Kiwi tarmac
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Last week, we attended a launch drive day for Audi’s 2nd e-tron electric SUV release, the Sportback 55. Arriving in S Line trim as standard, this vehicle certainly is both a sporty and elegant looking Coupe.
After collecting our fleet of test cars from Giltrap Audi Auckland, we headed south. First stop was a quick splash and dash at the new Bombay Dual 300kW Hyper charging stations. Here we met a representative from ChargeNet who told us about the latest in charging news.
The Bombay dual chargers are just the first, with 9 more planned for early 2021 for potential EV charging hot spots such as Kaiwaka (North), Smales Farm (Auckland) and Bulls (West Coast near Palmy) to name a few. ChargeNet have also just celebrated installing their 200th charge point, located in Castle Hill Village near Arthurs Pass, South Island.
The dual chargers are pretty advanced with what they can achieve, we charged two Sportbacks on each charger and only required 12 or so minutes to top the vehicles back to 100%. We soon charged on to our lunch destination out the back of the Raglan coast, swapping the driving duties along the way.
We took the scenic back roads towards Raglan, through to the Glass House for our lunch. Perched on the side of Mt Karioi, this is a sustainable, off-the-grid luxury accommodation holiday home you can hire, a truly fitting place to park our EV’s.
Our drive consisted of open free flowing highway, to windy back roads, with a bit of extreme slow almost goat-track like windy roads nearer to the batch. The Sportback handled all with ease and comfort, with the varying road conditions allowing us to experience the different drive select modes and see how the vehicle characteristics change to suit.
Interestingly enough, the Sportback only loses 20mm of headroom over its brother, the original e-tron SUV EV which launched last year and has already seen over 120 vehicles sold. The frunk has 60litres of storage which also houses the tool kit and charging cable, while the car offers a total of 615 litres of luggage capacity. Folding down the rear seat backrests increases the luggage capacity to 1,665 litres.
Full charge range claim is 446 km, and can be charged using a DC fast-charger current up to 150kW. At this rate the battery would reach 80% in just under 30 minutes, which in most cases would be enough for the next leg of a long-distance journey. As most (95%) of EV charging would be carried out at home, different charging options for Audi owners are available through HRV for a simple 230-volt connection and for a 400-volt three-phase outlet with an output of up to 11 kW.
The Audi e-tron Sportback is available now from $169,000 +ORC and optional extras.