2019 Audi e-tron E55 Quattro Preview

 

Audi unveils an electrifying new SUV 

Just in case you hadn't heard, Audi has chosen to stake its future on an entirely electrified lineup of cars and SUVs. By 2025, every Audi will have some form of electrification. 

Ambitious? Certainly. But other luxury manufacturers have made similar proclamations. 

At its shareholders meeting earlier this year, Audi's future strategy was laid out, as the brand plans to sell 800,000 electrified cars in 2025 between 20 different electric models. Audi says that most will be fully electric, with the remainder being plug-in hybrids. 

According to an official statement by Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management for Audi AG, "Our ambition has always been and will continue to be Vorsprung durch Technik. Our goal is to revolutionize mobility. Also in electric mobility, we want to become the Number 1 among the premium manufacturers - with full suitability for everyday use, no compromises, top quality and driving pleasure for the customer. With our technological excellence, we are utilizing our Vorsprung and lifting electric mobility to the next level." 

Smart? I certainly think so, as Audi can carve out a large chunk of the luxury electric car business, and produce cars and SUVs in a way that electric car innovator Tesla simply can't. 




New e-tron E55 quattro unveiled at glamorous San Francisco event 

Recently, more than 2,500 Audi dealers and customers and a throng of auto writers from traditional and social media platforms joined Audi in San Francisco for the spectacular e-tron World Debut. 

With the glamour and glitz of a Hollywood production, e-tron rolled into a packed warehouse on San Francisco Bay and "charged" the audience with the same type of hype and emotion of Mayweather/McGregor at the MGM in Vegas. One could say the match was Electric v. Gasoline, and it was quite a show. When the epic event was over and we got a chance to see the sharply chiseled new SUV up close, it became evident that Audi's Vorsprung durch Technik motto is now reborn with e-tron. 

So what is e-tron? It's a sport-ute styled like the Q5 and Q7 that will probably feature the brand's usual trio of Komfort, Progressiv and Technik trim levels when details become known. In the U.S., where trims and pricing were announced as part of the San Francisco event, it comes in base Premium Plus trim starting at $74,800 USD, Prestige trim at $81,800 USD, and as the limited (999 units) "Edition One" starting at $86,700 USD. Premium Plus includes a 9.6kW AC home charger, Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system, Audi "phone box" wireless charger and signal booster, heated and ventilated leather seats, panoramic sunroof and integrated toll module. 


 

Audi generous with e-tron E55 quattro standard and optional features 

Prestige includes all Premium Plus gear plus a head-up display, driver assistance package, adaptive cruise control, active lane assist, intersection assistant, Audi pre sense 360, traffic sign recognition, power soft close doors, rear window sunshades, dual pane acoustic windows, contour seats with massage, Valcona leather and an air quality package with an ionizer. 

While all trim levels are well contented, Edition One differentiates itself from other trims mostly through unique body and interior trim, and special paint and wheels. 

One super high tech feature Audi hopes will be standard equipment on the e-tron 55 quattro is side cameras to replace traditional sideview mirrors. At a display I visited prior to the world debut called Audi Tech Park, all of e-tron's super cool hardware was on exhibit, including the impressive high-definition sideview cameras. Audi is awaiting U.S. Government safety approval of this exciting new feature, and we assume they're focusing similar lobbying on the Canadian government. 


 

New e-tron designed to move five adults at a rapid pace 

The e-tron 55 quattro will join the A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid (on sale now) in Audi's whirlwind march toward the model total expected in 2025. 

The e-tron 55 features seating for five adults, quattro electric all-wheel drive (one motor at each wheel), air suspension, and a towing capacity of 1,800 kg. 

The two electric motors accelerate the e-tron from 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 200 km/h. 
 
The Audi e-tron uses an innovative recuperation system encompassing both electric motors, to boost efficiency. With its estimated range of more than 400 km, expect as much as 30 percent of the e-tron's range to come from recovered energy, depending on the conditions, terrain and driving style. The e-tron can recover energy in two ways: by means of coasting recuperation when the driver releases the accelerator, or by means of braking recuperation by depressing the brake pedal. 


 

Advanced battery technology gives e-tron advantage over rivals 

The battery system in the Audi e-tron is located beneath the cabin and comprises a total of 36 cell modules in square aluminum housings, each of which is roughly the size of a shoebox. 

A cooling system of flat aluminum extruded sections divided uniformly into small chambers has the task of maintaining the battery's high-performance operation over the long term. Heat is exchanged between the cells and the cooling system beneath them via a thermally conductive gel pressed beneath each cell module. A special cooling lance provides additional heat reduction to power motors. 

A strong surround frame and lattice-type aluminum structure that holds the cell modules is designed to protect the battery block. A substantial aluminum plate provides protection against damage from flying stones or curbs. These measures demonstrate how Audi's engineers have developed the battery and cooling systems with safety in mind. 

For customers' residential charging needs, a standard 9.6 kW AC capsule charger (Level 2, 240-volt/40 amps) is provided and designed to deliver a full charge overnight. 


 

Audi and Amazon collaborate for home charging systems 

Audi e-tron buyers will also have the opportunity to experience the first-ever home charging collaboration between online retail giant Amazon and an automaker. "Audi Home Charging powered by Amazon Home Services" will offer e-tron buyers a fully-digital experience for in-home electric vehicle charging installations, designed to make the process of home charging set up as easy as ordering home charging with installation from Amazon. 

E-tron buyers can also define their own personal priorities, such as charging when electricity is less expensive where available. With the myAudi app, owners can plan, control, and monitor e-tron charging and pre-heating/cooling. Owners can set a departure time, for example, so that the Audi e-tron is charged and/or heated/cooled at the desired time. They can even choose to heat or cool certain zones in the car. On cold winter days, for example, owners can turn on optional seat heating. The app also displays charging and driving data. 

For charging on the go in the U.S., 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 complete or under development throughout 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 e-tron, customers will receive 1,000 kWh of charging at Electrify America sites over four years of ownership. Sources within Audi Canada believe a similar deal may be offered. 


 

Audi has the long-term car building experience to meet e-tron demand 

Take years of German engineering and production know how, and Audi's capacity to produce e-tron on a large scale looks better than Tesla's struggling efforts to meet consumer demand long before the first e-tron hits the street in Q2 of 2019. 

Additionally, Audi left internal combustion engine powered endurance racing, and now competes and wins in the all-electric "Formula E" racing series with the e-tron FE04. Successes with technology in Formula E will certainly trickle down to Audi consumer electric vehicles, in the same way Le Mans successes helped spur their once strong diesel sales. 

The 2019 Audi e-tron 55 quattro seems to have covered all of the bases that make it a safe, well equipped option for luxury electric car buyers. Watch out Tesla. The competition now is real. 

Ready to get yours? Contact Audi Downtown Vancouver by phone at 877-883-1182, or drop by our showroom at Burrard and 2nd Avenue. 

Also, check out these great e-tron e55 quattro videos: 

Electrified: the world premiere of the Audi e-tron (3:13): 

May we present: the all-new Audi e-tron (4:00): 

A new era of electric mobility: the first fully electric Audi e-tron (2:10):

Audi e-tron: Electric has gone quattro (0:15): 


Story credits: Brian Armstead, Canadian Auto Press 
Photo credits: Audi and Brian Armstead 
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.