Into the future with AUDI
The fully electric Audi e-tron prototype was shown in Geneva earlier this year and production has started for the car to go on sale next year. Volkswagen has indicated a radical change of direction to electric cars for the future.
Audi revealed its new and completely electric SUV, the e-tron, at the Geneva Motor Show in March after first introducing the concept in 2016. The company has now announced the e-tron will be available in Europe from next year.
This luxurious electric vehicle (EV) model will also eventually compete with the Tesla Model X in the US and is the first automobile revealed after Volkswagen's promise made earlier this year to mass produce electric cars. The campaign was given the official name "Electric for all".
It is said the group plans making all their vehicles electric by 2030 to counter the VW emissions scandal of 2015. This was when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found software in VW diesel engines that could detect when the emissions levels were being tested and show a much lower level.
Volkswagen also announced recently that the group intends to make 10 million electric vehicles by investing R100-billion in EV production - and the Audi e-tron is just the first of the wave.
The company's plant in Brussels, Belgium, is already producing 200 of these cars a day and is a carbon-neutral factory.
This means Audi has officially become part of the luxury electric vehicle race alongside Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes and Elon Musk's Tesla cars.
The e-tron seats five people with ease and has a lot of luggage space, with all the comfort of the luxury Audi brand. The premium SUV is described as 100% electric and it can be charged at home or at public charging stations.
The production version of the Audi e-tron prototype can top up its charge at fast-charging stations with up to 150kW of charging capacity in just under 30 minutes.
Two models of the Audi e-tron will be available for sale from next year: The Premium Plus, starting at about R107 462, and the Prestige, starting at R117 511. These would be the approximate international prices calculated at the current exchange rate. If the e-tron is made available here, the hypothetical South African price would be based on future exchange rate variations as well as import duty. Although South Africa is lagging in terms of infrastructure for charging, several manufacturers are working together to make this technology more accessible in future.
Both e-tron models will be equipped with dual a-synchronous electric motors, LED headlights, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and heated and ventilated front seats, as well as numerous other features.
Some of the more luxurious features on the Prestige model include front seats in Valcona leather with a massage function, an air quality package that ionises and fragrances the air and a complete driver assistance package.
The 95kWh battery can be fully charged in nine hours, to 80% in 30 minutes and can exceed 400km on a single charge. This makes it the second highest-capacity battery on the EV market.
The Audi e-tron prototype as shown in Geneva.