We’re a bit late to the e-tron get together, we must admit. There have been quite a number of check drives of the Audi e-tron — the model’s first-ever electric automotive — across the globe already. Nevertheless, we did finally get the change to provide it a go only recently in a number of the most lovely areas of California.
The journey started out in San Francisco, the place my aircraft landed. I was then put into the back of an e-tron after which shuttled up to Yountville, within the lovely Napa Valley. It’s an honest drive from San Francisco to Yountville, which gave me the prospect to evaluate the automotive from the again seat; how quiet, snug and enjoyable it is or isn’t.
And I need to say, the Audi e-tron is an excellent automotive to spend a lot of time in. It’s near silent inside, surprisingly snug and, because of that, very enjoyable. I might spend hours within the back seat of the e-tron, no drawback. The snug seats, touch-sensitive local weather controls and excellent material quality don’t harm, both.
What you really need to know is the way it drives. I’ll get to that in a second. Earlier than we had the prospect to drive it, Audi needed to point out us what it’s like to truly personal and stay with the automotive. So we had dinner that night time at a stunningly lovely house, seemingly smack dab in the midst of a winery, with probably the prettiest view from any residence I’ve ever seen. There, Audi stuck an e-tron in the storage and confirmed us what it’s wish to charge it and stay with it. We also had just a little demonstration of its Alexa capabilities, as an Audi representative started a Roomba with only a voice command from inside the automotive. Cool stuff.
The following morning is once we had the prospect to truly drive the Audi e-tron, as we left Yountville towards Lake Tahoe. Other journalists had driven it before but this was our first time. Not precisely a crappy first drive, is it? As we headed out of Yountville, we drove by means of some very fairly scenery and decently twisty again roads. On these roads, the Audi e-tron proved to be more fun to drive than I anticipated however it’s still not a driver’s automotive.
Steering in the Audi e-tron is correct sufficient and front-end grip is surprisingly good. Though, the weighting is a bit too mild for my tastes and steering feel is nearly non-existent. The latter is to be expected in an electric SUV, although, so I gained’t really fault it for that.
Body motion are stored largely in verify, shockingly so, and it will truly hold onto a corner quite properly. So it doesn’t crumble should you push it exhausting. Nevertheless, it’s not exactly fun to push exhausting, either, and it typically feels as if it’d quite be driving a bit slower. That’s principally attributed to its weight.
The Audi e-tron weighs around 5,700 lbs, which is simply large. There are elephants that don’t weigh 5,700 lbs. Most of that weight is down low although, within the stomach of the automotive, as that’s where the battery lives. Just that battery pack alone weighs 1,500 lbs, which is about as much as a track-ready NA Miata. So it does have a low middle of gravity for an SUV, which helps it by way of corners, but there’s still no hiding its large curb weight.
Admittedly, its weight is unnoticeable whereas driving usually. In truth, while just cruising round, its mild steering and punchy electrical torque truly make it really feel quite spry. It’s solely once you begin making an attempt to drive it exhausting that its heft turns into noticeable. Which is a bit disappointing because there’s potential right here for a sportier feeling automotive if it wasn’t so heavy.
That weight makes itself recognized whereas accelerating, too. The Audi e-tron is truly quite powerful when it needs to be. Because of its twin electrical motors, it makes 355 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque beneath normal driving. Whenever you mash the accelerator though, you get a short lived Increase Mode, which packs 402 hp and 490 lb-ft. That Increase Mode is out there for eight seconds, which is greater than enough to get the e-tron to 60 mph, as it does that spring in 5.6 seconds.
There are lots of fanatics that shrug that determine off, because it’s nowhere near the neck-snapping acceleration of a Tesla Mannequin three Performance. And that’s true. Its acceleration is about scorching hatch-quick, which is quick sufficient. Nevertheless, it lacks that kind of surprising performance we’ve come to anticipate from EVs and it’s not for lack of energy. With 490 lb-ft of torque, you’d anticipate the Audi e-tron to be quite quick. Yet all of that weight prevents it from being very quick.
Nonetheless, it’s not precisely sluggish and its “in-gear” punch while shifting is surprisingly good. So throughout some spirited driving, it might punch its method out of corners better than you may anticipate.
After our enjoyable on a few of Napa Valley’s twistier back roads, we headed to Sacramento for some lunch and a charge. Admittedly, we didn’t truly have to charge, as all of our e-trons had more than 60-percent battery left, a surprising determine considering how arduous us journalists needed to drive. We additionally doubtless had sufficient battery to make it to our destination in Lake Tahoe.
We stopped off to cost so Audi might show us the fast-charging capabilities of the e-tron and that was the actual objective of our trip. Audi needed to prove that the e-tron can be utilized for lengthy trips proper now and it’ll solely get better as fast-charging infrastructure will get better.
The Audi e-tron sports a 95 kWh battery pack and is capable of charging at 150 kW. More importantly, it’s able to sustaining that charge velocity for virtually its complete cost cycle. From about 10-percent to virtually 80-percent, the e-tron can charge at 150 kW. That provides it the broadest band of quick charging of any EV available on the market. That’s more essential than lots of critics may claim.
Most different EVs can cost at their peak charging velocity for solely a small proportion of their battery. For example, the Tesla Mannequin three starts to drops off of 150 kW at round 45-percent. In truth, that’s round the place all other EVs start to lose their charging velocity and most of them never attain 150 kW at all. But the e-tron stays at 150 kW until 75-percent and then slowing drops off till its absolutely charged.
Some prototype Tesla Model 3s can charge at 250 kW but solely from about 5-10 % battery. After that, they drop off considerably till they’re at that 45-percent mark and drop beneathe 150 kW. Plus, they’re solely prototypes and only a handful of prototype Superchargers can truly charge them at greater speeds. So, because it stands now, the e-tron is the fastest charging production EV available on the market.
The purpose why that’s essential is it means you possibly can pull up to a charging station at virtually any proportion and get 150 kW of charging. You don’t need to be low on battery, which makes discovering a fast-charging station simpler and planning your route turns into extra versatile. Which is why once we stopped off in Sacramento with about 60-percent battery left, we have been still capable of charge up at 150 kW. We wouldn’t have been capable of in another EV.
Admittedly, e-tron house owners will need to discover a fast-charger able to that velocity. There aren’t a ton of them in the meanwhile but Audi’s charging associate, Electrify America, is working on including a ton by the top of the yr. Thankfully, an Electrify America port was in Sacramento. So we have been capable of truly check these chargers out and see simply how briskly the e-tron might cost.
While charging at 150 kW, the e-tron can recoup 50 miles of range in ten minutes. Considering we solely used about 60 or 70 miles of vary on the best way to Sacramento, we barely wanted more than that to “fill up”. Still, we had some lunch and let it cost to full.
After lunch, we headed again onto the street but this time it was principally freeway obligation on the best way to Lake Tahoe. On the highway, the Audi e-tron is surprisingly straightforward to drive. It’s straightforward to hold at velocity and its intelligent regenerative braking system retains the regen low at velocity on the freeway. There are multiple regen modes however there’s one which mechanically adapts to your driving, navigation route and elevation modifications to all the time maintain it in an optimal setting. It really works nicely, as it held the regen braking again on the freeway, making it straightforward to drive at high velocity.
After our highway stint, we headed into the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. There, the clever regen braking helped recoup a few of the miles we used on the highway and worked fairly nicely. More importantly, although, the Audi e-tron felt more in its component than at some other point in the course of the day. I used to be truly driving shotgun at this level, as my driving companion was on the helm within the Sierras. Nevertheless, I used to be still significantly impressed with how properly it handled the fast, sweeping turns and elevation modifications.
On long, high-speed sweepers, the e-tron actually comes into its personal. Its ample power helps it build velocity shortly and its all-wheel drive grip — because of one thing Audi calls “Electric Quattro” — helps it cling to the street. There have been a number of points where both my co-driver and I have been nodding our heads in shocking approval, as the e-tron dug its 4 claws into the street and flung us out of some high-speed turns.
Once we finally arrived at our lodge on Lake Tahoe, we’d already achieved a couple of hours of driving, but there was no fatigue. I are likely to get a bit antsy over lengthy journeys and may’t wait to get out and stretch my legs. Not within the e-tron, although. Its front chairs are supremely snug, its journey is clean and supple and its cabin is quiet and serene.
The function for this trip was that Audi needed to show its e-tron might work as a long-distance cruiser, particularly as soon as 150 kW charging turns into increasingly widespread. Nevertheless it’s not just its battery tech and charging velocity that make the e-tron a great long-distance companion. It’s truly only a very nice automotive to drive for extended durations of time. It’s an straightforward automotive to drive long stints as a result of it feels normal, like one other Audi SUV.
That’s both a praise or an insult, relying on who you ask. The e-tron’s detractors will say that it’s boring due to its normalcy. Anyone in favor of it, though, will point out that normalcy was the target all alongside.
Audi meant for the e-tron to be the automotive that introduced conventional Audi clients over to electric mobility. After spending some time with it, I feel Audi nailed its meant goal, for better or worse. In the event you’re wanting for something funky and bizarre, something with a whoopee cushion mode in its fundamental touchscreen, the e-tron is in all probability not for you.
The Audi e-tron looks like a traditional luxurious SUV, just one that never must cease at a fuel station. It’s an electrical SUV for freshmen.