Electric Audi e-tron SUV set for August reveal

5 Jun, 2018 8:10pm

Audi's first all-electric e-tron model will be revealed on 30 August 2018, before going on sale later this year

The all-new Audi e-tron SUV will be revealed in Brussels on 30 August 2018, according to company boss Rupert Stadler. The brand’s first full-EV will help the company reach a target of 800,000 electrified cars each year by 2025. 

Chairman of the Board of Management, Rupert Stadler said: “At the Global Audi Summit in Brussels on August 30th, we will deliver on our promise. The premier of the Audi e-tron - our first fully electric car.” 

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The news comes just weeks after the firm announced it was taking refundable deposits for the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace-rivalling electric SUV – even before the car officially goes on sale.

Stadler announced the reveal date for the forthcoming Audi e-tron at the launch of the Q8 SUV in Shenzhen, China. He also outlined plans to manage the company’s carbon footprint, by taking steps to ensure each of its production facilities was CO2 natural by the end of the next decade.

“At Audi, we are not just using cleaner parts,” Stadler said. “We are taking production to the next level. We are using a balancing CO2 emissions. By 2030, each of our sites will be carbon neutral.” 

He went on to say that by 2025 “every third Audi will be electrified.” 

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Little additional information was revealed about the new e-tron SUV in China, but we already know that while the original concept used a drivetrain consisting of three electric motors, the production model will feature just two, with one powering each axle. A 95kWh battery pack has been confirmed, made up of 36 shoebox style battery modules. The batteries are housed in the floor of the vehicle for better weight distribution.

A revised all-electric range has been issued under new, stricter WLTP testing standards, too. Audi claims that the e-tron will be capable of over 249 miles on a single charge, though we'll have to wait a little longer for some performance figures.

On the charging front, Audi claims the e-tron's extensive thermal management system will enable the car to recharge at a Tesla-beating output of up to 150kW at DC charging stations. It means that at stations capable of charging at such a rate - such as the IONITY charging points currently being built by a wide group of European manufacturers - the e-tron will recharge from flat to 80 per cent in less than half an hour.

Audi will also launch what it calls the e-tron Charging Service, which it says will grant buyers access to around 80 per cent of Europe's charging points, regardless of operator. Buyers will only have to carry one ‘e-tron card’ rather than several for different charging suppliers. From mid-2019 onwards, all e-tron models rolling off the firm's Belgian production line won't need the card at all, and will support a system called Plug & Charge. The system will automatically authenticate the car at the charging station.

An 11kW home charger will be included as standard, enabling an 8.5-hour recharge. A 22kW system cuts this to 4.5 hours, and enables smart charging by selecting off-peak hours to recharge the vehicle if the owner desires. 

Design-wise, the production e-tron is set to be subtly toned down from the design of the concept first seen in 2015. With designer Marc Lichte determined to add more differentiation between models, the e-tron will feature a different front end shape to the Q5 and Q7, with a smaller, partially blanked grille and reshaped headlamps.

A broad shoulder line is expected to stretch the length of the SUV’s side profile, while a coupe-like rear end shape will help give it a sleeker look than other Audi SUVs. Aerodynamics are a big focus, as the firm looks to trump the I-Pace with a drag coefficient target of just 0.25Cd, maximising the battery’s range. jumbo-bg understands that the production car will be offered with ultra-slim, camera based wing mirrors to this effect.

We’ve yet to see the interior, but we can expect design and tech influence to be taken from the latest Q8. The brand’s Virtual Cockpit will be adapted to show details of range, power usage and charging times, while the dual-screen infotainment set-up from the coupe SUV could also feature. We’d expect level-three autonomous technology to be offered as well. Despite the coupe-like roofline, the e-tron is likely to feature five seats, and its boot space should be similar to a Q5’s. 

The SUV sits on an adapted version of the MLB platform that underpins the Q5 and Q7. Power outputs are still under wraps, although we know the concept claimed to produce 496bhp and 800Nm of torque, translating to a Model X-rivalling 0-62mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds.

It’s possible that Audi will adopt Tesla’s strategy of offering a number of power outputs, allowing a competitive entry price as well as more expensive performance variants. However, the 95kWh limit seems like the maximum output due to space constraints, so any further e-tron models using the electrified platform will likely feature smaller battery packs and boast more affordable price tags. 

The e-tron is the first vehicle in Audi's all-out assault on the premium SUV market, with eight new high-riding models due to arrive before the end of the decade. 

Would you pick the Audi e-tron over the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace? Let us know in the comments section below...