Audi has revealed its first fully electric production car at an event in San Francisco – and the Audi e-tron SUV will be the first of a family of EVs.
The e-tron will arrive on UK roads early in 2019, at a price starting from £70,805. It employs two electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear to give it all-wheel drive capability.
Audi quotes a system output of 300kW and 664Nm of torque, the latter available almost instantly and sending the vehicle through 62mph from rest in 5.7 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited at 124mph.
In normal driving, the system is biased to the rear axle. The front motor supplies additional traction as required when more power is needed, such as under hard cornering or in slippery conditions.
The system includes energy recuperation, increasing the car’s range by up to 30%. Audi is still testing the e-tron’s range between charges but says that it will be at least 248 miles under the latest WLTP ‘real world’ testing cycle.
One way of increasing the range will be to specify the optional virtual exterior mirrors. These replace the traditional door mirrors with small rear-facing cameras that display their images on high-contrast displays in the cockpit, improving the car’s aerodynamics in the process by removing the drag-inducing mirror housings.
The battery pack is mounted flat under the floor to keep the car’s centre of gravity low, centrally between the axles helping to produce a perfect 50:50 axle weight distribution.
The driver also has seven driving modes to choose from through Audi’s drive sect system. This acts on the standard-fit air suspension and adaptive dampers, and in some modes can vary the ride height by up to 76mm.
The e-tron is a full-size SUV, measuring 4.9 metres long and with a 2.9-metre wheelbase. Inside it is configured as a five-seater, with a 660-litre boot.
Alongside the e-tron reveal Audi has announced that it will put 12 electric models on sale by 2025 and expects by then that such cars will account for a third of the brand’s sales.
Electric options will be available ‘in every relevant market segment from the compact to the full-size class’, starting with the e-tron and a Sportback estate version, both on sale in 2019.
Audi intends to unveil an e-tron GT concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this year, the coupé developed in conjunction with Porsche.
In total four new vehicle platforms are being developed for these models – some will use the Volkswagen Group’s new bespoke MEB electric platform, unveiled 24 hours ahead of the e-tron.