Audi India intends to launch the first luxury electric SUV in India and on its way to doing that later this year, the company has previewed the car ahead of its official unveil on July 12, 2019. The e-Tron is Audi's milestone car because it's the company's first production electric car and it gains more prominence because it signals a whole new direction for the company globally.
It's interesting here to note though that Audi is taking a dive into electric car business in India and a strategy that will need some time to pan out and bear fruit. As far as the luxury car market goes in India, it's Mercedes-Benz ruling the roost followed by BMW and then Audi. BMW, thanks to all the new launches this year will have the youngest fleet of the lot, the Mercedes cars await updates but it's Audi that's far behind its rivals not only in terms of products but the subsequent sales figures ,too. It's turbulent times for the carmaker and it had to think out of the box. With the e-Tron it's not just done that but jumped across the fence to move on to greener pastures.
The front end gets an octagonal grille with active flaps, that allow air to pass through and cool the front axle motor. Viewed in profile, the e-Tron SUV has a typical crossover silhouette and when it comes to size, the e-Tron sits between the Audi Q5 and the Audi Q7. which run across the boot of the SUV. Overall, the design of the Audi e-Tron is not a far cry from its Q range of SUVs but still distinguishes itself from its other SUV siblings, thanks to contemporary styling.
The Audi e-Tron SUV gets two electric motors, one on each axle. The one on the front makes 125 kW while the rear motor makes 140 kW, with the combined total of 265 kW or 355 bhp. The peak torque output is 561 Nm. In the boost mode, the power output goes up to 300 kW or 408 bhp. The Audi e-Tron SUV has a range of 400 km on a single charge according to WLTP cycle and can touch a top speed of 200 kmph. Also, the 0-100 kmph sprint is done in 6.6 seconds in the normal mode and 5.7 seconds in the boost mode. Being an Audi SUV, quattro is standard fitment. The SUV gets 432 cells in 36 modules which are packed together on the floor of the vehicle and have a combined weight of 699 kg with power capacity of 95 kWh.
The interior of the Audi e-Tron too is contemporary rather than being overly futuristic. There are hardly any buttons in the cabin, with all controls being distributed between the three display panels on the dashboard. The party piece on the Audi e-Tron SUV are the virtual camera rear view mirrors. This means that the wing mirrors on the car are basically high definition cameras, which project the rear view image inside the cabin, on two display screens mounted on the front doors.
The e-Tron can be charged in close to 8 and a half hours using a normal charging point while a fast charger can fully charge it in just 40 minutes. On a full charge the e-tron gets a range of 400 km and that's quite good.
The e-tron is a milestone for Audi and to bring it to India is a bold move, considering infrastructure in the country for EVs is still not up to par. So the question now is about positioning.
Audi plans to launch the e-tron by the end of this year and the exact date will be notified soon enough. Expect it to be priced above ₹ 1.50 crore, so it won't be cheap but by launching the e-tron Audi will certainly give its rivals a lot to think about. Mercedes and BMW will surely be watching the results of this move very closely.