On Monday, the Audi electric SUV was unveiled in San Francisco to an enthusiastic crowd. The company also announced a deal with Amazon.com that it says will make it easier to charge the company’s e-tron models. Audi photo.
Audi electric SUV to be sold in 2019 in the US for $75,795 before tax credit
The unveiling of the Audi electric SUV on Monday night in San Francisco was the global launch of the German company’s luxury EV. The event also highlighted an agreement between the automaker and Amazon.com to make recharging its e-tron models easier.
The Audi e-tron midsize SUV offers seating for five and will be available in the US next year with a starting price of $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit.
Audi is hoping to gain some share of the niche market from EV kingpin Tesla.
“I want Audi to be the number-one electric vehicle seller in America over the long term,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters.
While Audi dealers cheered the e-tron at the event, the following day, analysts said they were concerned that the SUV’s driving range may not be able to compete with the Tesla Model X.
According to Audi officials, they do not have official range estimates for the Audi electric SUV under US testing procedures. However, they say that under less rigorous European testing, the SUV should achieve a range of about 250 miles, or 400 kilometres.
The Audi e-tron battery has less capacity than the 100 kWh battery used by Tesla in its Model X 100D, but more than the base Model X 75D. The Model X 100D is rated at 295 miles, or 475 km of range by the US government.
Reuters reports that Keough told attendees that an e-tron made a 175 mile trip over the mountains to the east of San Francisco and had range to spare.
Keough also said that the Audi will recharge faster than other EVs.
Analysts comparing the Audi to the Mercedes EQC found the e-tron “fails to set new benchmarks in the premium EV segment, even though we consider it better than the Mercedes EQC.”
Daimler AG plans to launch the EQC electric SUV in 2020.
Along with unveiling the e-tron, Audi also announced a partnership with Amazon.com to sell and install EV charging stations to buyers of the Audi electric SUV.
This is the first such partnership between Amazon.com and an automaker.
“We see charging installation as a very important business,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, told Reuters at Audi’s launch event.
According to Audi executives, the home charging stations are expected to cost about $1,000, depending on the home’s electrical system. Meanwhile, Tesla offers home charging stations for $500 and will arrange for installation.
The Audi electric SUV has two electric motors, one in the front and one in the rear, which drive all four wheels. According to Reuters, Audi officials say the Hungarian company contracted to build motors for the e-tron have targeted a production pace equivalent to 200 vehicles a day.
The SUV will be equipped with an advanced cruise-control system which will maintain lane control and keep the vehicle at a set distance behind another vehicle, but has been designed for driver control.