On September 17, 2018, Audi started taking reservations for delivery of the luxury automaker's first electric vehicle, the 2019 e-tron Premium Plus, a fully-electric SUV featuring several industry firsts.
In one of the industry firsts, the e-tron debuts a DC fast charging capability of up to 150 kW - delivering an 80 percent charge in approximately 30 minutes, a charge speed considered super-fast.
In another, Audi e-tron buyers can prepare their homes for their new electric SUVs with Amazon Home Services in the first-ever home charging collaboration between Amazon and an automaker.
“Audi Home Charging powered by Amazon Home Services” offers e-tron buyers a fully-digital experience for in-home electric vehicle charging installations, designed to make the process of ordering a home charging system as easy as ordering the millions of other items and services U.S. customers get from Amazon.
The Amazon Home Services unit will allow e-tron buyers to view information and pricing on home-charging equipment and installation, the automaker said.
But first the price of Audi's first electric vehicle - not for the faint-hearted.
The price of an 2019 e-tron Premium Plus starts at US$74,800, and that's before the $995 destination fee, taxes, title, other options and dealer charges.
At first a small number of buyers will be the ones getting value for their money.
"To celebrate our first electric vehicle," said Audi in a statement about the launch, "we are introducing a limited build First Edition model in the US, with only 999 units making their way to the US market."
Designed for efficiency and integration, the e-tron is engineered for both AC and DC charging via the widespread SAE J1772 and Combined Charging System (CCS) standards.
Its two electric motors accelerate the SUV from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 124 mph.
To boost efficiency, the Audi e-tron uses an innovative recuperation system involving both electric motors. The electric SUV can recover energy in two ways - by coasting recuperation when the driver releases the accelerator, or by braking recuperation when the driver depresses the brake pedal.
As America grows its EV charging network, it's getting easier to feel comfortable about jumping into the electric car and heading off on a road trip.
For charging on the go, the e-tron will be supported by a nationwide charging network, “Powered by Electrify America.”
By July 2019, this network will include nearly 500 fast-charging sites either complete or under development in 40 states and 17 metro areas.
Offering advanced charging, Electrify America’s chargers are capable of delivering up to 350kW. With the purchase of the Audi e-tron, customers will receive 1,000 kWh of charging at Electrify America sites over four years of ownership.
For residential charging, a standard 9.6 kW AC capsule charger (Level 2, 240-volt/40 amps) is provided and designed to deliver a fresh charge overnight. This charger will include plugs that can utilize both a standard 120-volt household outlet (1.2 kW) as well as a fast-speed 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet (9.6 kW).
The 2019 e-tron Premium Plus is not self-driving, but it does have many automated systems.
The optional Driver Assistance Package, with up to five radar sensors, six cameras, 12 ultrasound sensors and a laser scanner, supports the driver in accelerating, braking, maintaining speed and keeping distance.
The 360 degree cameras provide multiple views, particularly crossing traffic. The 3D view with selectable perspective is the highlight.
The system can detect lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead. It automatically adjusts to the current speed limit, reduces the speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts.
Park steering assist maneuvers the e-tron independently into parallel parking and perpendicular parking spaces - forward or backward. The driver only has to accelerate, select the gear and brake.
Buyers are now able to configure their e-tron and reserve a vehicle with a refundable $1,000 reservation fee, ahead of delivery in mid-2019.
The e-tron is the first of three fully electric vehicles Audi plans to bring to the market by 2020. The company said it expects almost 30 percent of its U.S. customers to switch to an electric vehicle by 2025.
By Sunny Lewis
Environment News Service (ENS)
September 24, 2018