Audi's incoming e-tron SUV wants to change the way Singapore owns EVs

Derryn Wong

Audi e-tron electric SUV has 400hp, 400km range, scheduled for 2019 Singapore launch and will challange the conventions of EV ownership here
San Francisco, California USA
German luxury carmaker Audi officially unveiled the production version of its first battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV), the Audi e-tron, at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco today.

Audi e-tron: Performance and details
The SUV has two electric motors (below) driving each axle, the front motor has 168hp, and the rear 194hp.

Total combined output is 355hp with 561Nm of torque, that can be extended to 400hp and 664Nm in short-term boost mode. 0-100km/h is achieved in 5.7 seconds in that mode, and 6.6 seconds in normal mode, with an electronically-limited top speed of 200km/h.

The e-tron is 4,901mm long, 1,935mm wide, 1,616mm tall, with a 2,928mm wheelbase. That makes it longer and wider, but slightly shorter than the Audi Q5 (4,663mm x 1,893mm x 1,659mm).

Its wheelbase is much longer than the Q5’s 2,819mm, and almost as long as the Q7 seven-seat SUVs, which is 2,994mm, and the luggage capacity of 660-litres is very generous, compared to the Q5’s already large 550-litres.

What’s the coolest feature it has?
The e-tron is packed full of Audi’s latest tech and has many innovations. The dual-motor quattro system is all new, as is the battery pack technology (packaging, safety, cooling).

Audi also paid special attention to aerodynamics for the car’s low 0.27cD, as aero is even more important in EVs for refinement and range.

The interior features the active instrument display and latest MMI Touch system as seen in the A6 sedan, A7 Sportback, and A8 luxury limousine.

But its coolest feature is the Virtual Mirror system, which replaces the wing mirrors with a camera linked to an internal OLED display. Watch how it works below.

How far can it go, and long does it take to charge?
The car’s 95kWh battery is located in the floor and allows a range of up to 400km on a single charge.

In the European Union, a supplied home charger is capable of 22kW charging, which fills the battery in 4.5 hours. A charging contract supplied by Audi enables owners to use 72,000 charge points around the continent.

Additionally, the new fast charge network Ionity – created by a number of car brands in co-operation, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, will allow for 150kW fast-charging that gives 80 percent charge in only 30 minutes.
Will Singapore be getting the e-tron?

Audi Singapore says it plans to debut the e-tron in Singapore in mid- to late-2019, despite the barriers to EV ownership here.  
“Electric vehicles are the future, there’s no doubt about it and everyone is going that way. But we will do things differently from everyone else,” says Jeff Mannering, the managing director of Audi Singapore.

Audi could introduce a charge-on-demand concept where cars are charged by the dealership and sent to owners at their convenience, or swapping out a car that’s running low for a fully-charged one. 
The ‘on demand’ part is linked to Audi’s expansion as a mobility service, with the launch of its Audi on-demand short-term car rentals in January this year.

“We are exploring various possibilities with charging, and basically we want to make it as simple as possible for a customer to own an Audi EV,” he added.
Audi says the starting price of the electric SUV in Germany is approximately $128,100 Singapore dollars (EUR 79,900), so we can realistically expect a price tag of at least $3. 00,000 with COE.
Are there more exciting models to come besides an electric SUV?
The e-tron is only the tip of Audi’s electrified spear. Audi also announced 12 more full EV e-tron models to come by 2025, in addition to PHEVs and mild hybrids.  
This will include cars ‘in all relevant segments’, beginning with the e-tron sportback, a coupe-like SUV, to go on sale by the end of 2019. Like the e-tron, it will use the current MLB Evo underpinnings seen in the new A6, A7, and A8.

Following that will be a four-seat sports car, the e-tron GT (concept shown above) , to be built by Audi’s racing and high-performance division Audi Sport.

The e-tron GT will use the same platform as Porsche’s Taycan electric sports car, with a preview concept model to be shown in November’s LA Auto Show, and a global launch in 2020. A compact EV model will also be launched that same year.  

Equally interesting was Audi’s platform plans for a whole range of EVs further afield:
Smaller models will use the existing Volkswagen Group MEB electric car platform, while premium models will run on a totally new electric vehicle platform.
This platform, called Premium Platform Electric (PPE) will be co-designed with Porsche, and form the basis for a range of models ranging from mid-sized sedans to luxury limousines and GTs.

Audi’s PB18 concept sports car (above) is a super-cool glimpse at an exciting electric future.
The range will include multiple body styles, including SUVs, and see first introduction by the end of 2021.
Aren’t EVs a dead end in Singapore without a charging network?

Somebody forgot to tell carmakers – and carbuyers too. Come 2019, Singapore will also see the Jaguar i-Pace, and in 2020 the Porsche Taycan, and possibly the Mercedes-Benz EQC.
Even if EVs don’t replace normal passenger cars, they are still important for you.
EVs could form the backbone of ride-sharing cars or part-time car usage, not just permanent ownership. That is good news all around as cars are linked to local air pollution.

Nothing coming out of this tailpipe…
Air pollution causes more than 7-million deaths worldwide (according to the WHO) and it also makes you stupider. While the lack of private parking/private charging points is a serious barrier to EV ownership in Singapore, that hasn’t stopped the recent proliferation of EVs for sale in 2018.
There is an existing public network for EV owners to use, under Greenlots, which also services owners of BMW EV or PHEVs.
Earlier in June this year, SP Group (Singapore Power) announced plans to build a network of 500 charge points, with the first 30 charging points to be established islandwide by the end of 2018.
The fact that there’s progress on this front in EV-unfriendly Singapore mirrors the booming market for EVs around the globe.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects EV demand to increase tremendously over the next two decades with the number of EVs on the roads globally expected to go from 3.1-million to 125-million in 2030, a 4,032 percent increase.  


Audi e-tron electric EV

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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