Audi is very excited about the upcoming production launch of their new all-electric vehicle, the Audi Etron. So excited, that they flew me as well as 200 of their favorite automotive journalists to San Francisco for the World Premier Party. Obviously, the Audi Etron is not the first electric vehicle to hit the market. Competitors like Tesla, Nissan, Mercedes-Smart, and Chevrolet beat them to the punch. But in my opinion, it is the best overall. Apple didn’t invent the smartphone, but they revolutionized it and made it mainstream. Now it is Audi’s turn to make another mark on the world…
I have been following this vehicle for three years; since its concept car debut at the International Motor Show in Germany to the unveiling in the USA. From concept to production, the vehicle hasn’t changed drastically too in terms of styling or the proposed benchmarks. But the technology is lightyears ahead. In 2015, the technology to make Audi’s vision of an electric car wasn’t available. This is why Audi went to the race track with Formula E. From there, they were able to test and develop high-efficient electric motors and complex lithium-ion battery systems that could be utilized on your daily commute. Additionally, Audi collaborated with its sister company, Porsche, for the development of the Etron. Porsche is working on its own lineup of electric vehicles; most notably the Mission E series of grand touring vehicles. The combined intellect of these two German powerhouses can only mean a quality product.
It doesn’t look funny:
This can be both a plus and a minus, depending on your opinion. Every electric vehicle on the market looks weird. They are designed to represent the future, and for its drivers to make a statement: I am ultra-high-tech, I am ultra-trending, or I care deeply about the environment. After all, what you drive says a lot about you. The Audi Etron breaks the mold. Unless you look closely, the Audi Etron looks like a typical Audi SUV/Crossover. It is for individuals who want a great looking vehicle that is also electric.
It is a great vehicle:
Tesla makes great electric vehicles, but the Model S, Model 3, and Model X are only great because they are electrified. If a gasoline motor was placed under the hood, I bet most journalists would say that Tesla’s have a futuristic design, but the materials used feel cheap. The Audi Etron on the other hand, feels like a proper German luxury vehicle. Every element exuberates quality and precision. The interior of the vehicle I previewed featured a spacious cabin with leather seats and real wood trim. Authentic aluminum accents dressed up the interior to give it a modern look. If you placed a gasoline motor under the hood, I would still like the car just as much.
Its benchmarks are solid:
Most of the technical specifications for the Audi Etron are still under wraps. But we do know all of the essentials. The Audi Etron has a 0 to 60mph time of 5.5 seconds. It isn’t a rocket ship, but the vehicle can accelerate quicker or as quick as about half of the Audi fleet. The Audi Etron can also do proper SUV things, like going off-road. The vehicles air suspension system will raise the ride height for off-road use, and its two-electric motor quattro all-wheel-drive system is designed to perform on snow, mud, and rocks. It can also tow up to 4,000 pounds. So that means you don’t need a second vehicle to tow your boat, camper, or race car. Audi hasn’t released official range specifications, but I heard a rumor at the World Premier Party that the Etron has a range of around 300 miles on a single charge. That is on par with best electric vehicles currently on the market.
It is priced well:
Audi told us during the event that the Etron is going to start at a base price of $74,000. This makes the Etron a good value when you compare it to the Tesla Model X or the Jaguar i-Pace, which starts at $83,000 and $69,000 respectively. And a significantly good value when you consider all of the standard equipment on the base model Audi Etron.
It is a tipping point:
Going mainstream is significant milestone in any trend. I think the Audi Etron will be the catalyst to make electric vehicles go mainstream. In its current state, electric vehicles are kind of a fad. But if Audi can position this technology as an everyday alternative versus a lifestyle, I think we will start to see more everyday vehicles have an all-electric lifestyle. I am a proud petrol head, but there is no doubt that electric drivetrains were once the future and quickly become the present.
Audi hasn’t released an official launch date, but I was told that it is coming soon. Audi dealers are already taking deposits on the Audi Etron. So you better hurry if you want to be amongst the first owners in the USA.