The Audi e-tron is coming to South Africa.
You’ve probably heard about the Audi e-tron, if you haven’t, it’s not the name of a spaceship, or your best friends dog. Rather it’s Audi’s production ready, first EV vehicle. There has been big press around this vehicle over the past few weeks, with international press already driving the vehicle. We headed with Audi South Africa to Singapore for the Audi Brand Experience. Here we had a chance to get up close and personal with many of the new vehicles coming to SA in 2019- Including the e-tron.
Design and size
Surprisingly to many, the e-tron’s design doesn’t fledge far away from the design language of current Q models. It’s bold, features sharp lines and a new rear light setup similar to that of the Q8. One will instantly notice the closed-off grille, which is one of a few unique design features which allow you to recognise it as an electric Audi. e-tron is a meaty SUV and is similar in size when compared to the Q8, whilst being slightly smaller than the Q7. There is no mistaking that in the flesh this is one pretty vehicle.
Times are changing, and soon, we will live in a time when you will no longer ask the guy next to you at the traffic lights how much power his vehicles produces but rather, “ How’s your range?” Yes the most asked and debated question when it comes to electric vehicles. Range, range, range.
Picture this, your heading to Durban from the concrete jungle for a long weekend of sun, surf and sand. You jump in your vehicle, setup the perfect playlist, buy snacks for bae, or the kids, or both, and head off down the N3 in wake of the coast. After an early start to beat the traffic, you’re now ready for the classic South African road trip meal – Wimpy. After a short but satisfying 30-minute stop in Harrismith, you jump back into your vehicle and finish off an easy run to Durban. Sound like a dream? Not at all, this is a trip many have completed. Now imagine doing that in an electric vehicle, no I’m not delusional, e-tron makes it possible.
The e-tron’s range is impressive, 425km’s to be exact. Whilst you may be doing quick math and realising that roughly 200km’s less than you’d need for a trip like the above, you’re missing one very important factor- a 150kW fast charge system. In just 30 minutes or the amount of time it takes you to finish a Dagwood sandwich and supreme size chocolate milkshake, your Audi e-tron will be charged to at least 80% capacity. Range anxiety will no longer become a factor. Furthermore, these charging facilities are due to be installed in Harrismith, and eventually all around the country. Making trips like this a reality.
Normal but not so normal
There is a stereotype when it comes to EV vehicles because various concept cars have shown them to be these futuristic tech-laden machines. In reality, the e-tron is very normal. For the most part, it follows Audi’s design language and looks like an Audi. It features Audi’s new cockpit which features an upper and lower screen in the centre console. This is much like the Q8 and other new models going forward. It also has more space in the rear thanks to the removal of the transmission tunnel. All in all, it’s very normal, and I really like that about the Audi e-tron.
Having said this, when you look closely it may be less normal than you think. There are some very cool pieces of tech in this vehicle and one of them is Audi’s side mirrors or lack of them. The Audi e-tron doesn’t feature standard wing mirrors. Rather virtual mirrors in the form of a slim bar which features a live camera. This image is then displayed on the inside of each door. It’s a world first and helps massively with efficiency and well, looks damn cool. There are other world firsts as well, such as the electrohydraulic brake control system which in conjunction with the electric motors, provides braking while also regenerating the electric battery. So while from the exterior it looks pretty normal, there is plenty of fancy tech working hard under the body.
Audi e-tron pricing in South Africa and Arrival
Audi e-tron is planned for arrival in South Africa during Q3 of 2019. We have no pricing at this stage, however, the vehicle will retail for 80,000 euros in Germany. We don’t know what the currency will be doing next year, but this does give us a rough estimation.
Also published on Medium.