Feature: sparking something
FROM our distant ancestors cowering in caves and marvelling at the might of a passing thunderstorm, through to Alessandro Volta’s harnessing of this seemingly uncontrollable power, the invention of the voltaic pile and the tortured genius of Nikolai Tesla’s pioneering experiments with electrical elds, we’ve long found ourselves drawn to the power of electricity. But, while it has powered everything from our homes to the computers forming the neural network of our increasingly digitised society, electricity’s in uence on the automotive industry has hit something of a short circuit. It has sparked little more than a fanciful concept here and a niche, badge-engineered Pr-pleasing EV model there.
This caution is not unfounded, though. In an industry where the internal-combustion engine holds sway and manufacturers’ fates can be sealed by little more than a small commercial misstep, the decision to dip a toe into the EV market isn’t one to be taken lightly. Someone had to go rst and, despite the fact Audi wasn’t the rst carmaker to introduce an EV to its stable, the Ingolstadt rm’s unveiling of the E-tron looks set to complete the circuit between the company’s traditional strengths and a world of motoring held with the same caution as the electricity upon which it will be powered.