Audi recently launched in July 2021 its much awaited all electric SUV. Though initially scheduled for a launch in 2019, supply chain constraints and pandemic related delays caused the German manufacturer to lose its first mover advantage in the EV space to Mercedes-Benz EQC & Jaguar I-Pace. However, this could be a blessing in disguise as the awareness and acceptance of EV’s in India has only grown since 2019. Clearly, luxury car manufacturers launching high end EV’s in the Indian market signals the dawn of a new era for electric mobility in India.
Audi e-tron is being offered in 3 versions in India currently – e-tron 50, e-tron 55 & e-tron 55 sportback. Another version of the e-tron is expected to be launched for the Indian market by the end of 2021. The e-tron 50 & 55 are being offered in 8 different colour variants while the e-tron 55 sportback is offered in 9. Even the interiors can be picked from among 3 available options. The variants come in hefty Rs. 99 lakh – Rs. 1.17 crore range in India. But is such a high price for a luxury EV justified? Lets have a look.
Firstly the e-tron closely resembles Audi’s SUV family and it is a good thing as this makes the car very familiar. The 5 seater SUV is intimidatingly huge compared to its competitors due to its dimensions (5014mm (length) x 1976mm(width) x 1686mm (height)). Such massive dimensions along with the removal of conventional car tech, serve as the cornerstone for luxury for the e-tron range. At 660 liters the boot space is massive and the absence of an engine under the bonnet also provides space for an additional ‘frunk’ (front trunk). The design of the e-tron however is more conventional and does not scream electric (except for the green coloured number plate which is mandatory for all EV’s in India). Grabbing the limelight upfront is a massive, enclosed hexagonal area finished in grey that mimics a standard Audi front grille. The stylish headlamps and 20-inch wheels add some oomph to its design. A unique feature of the e-tron is the presence of charging ports on both sides of the vehicle, so parking isn’t dictated by the position of the port. The way the flaps on the charging ports slide down at the press of a button looks super cool.
On the interior as well, the conventional styling philosophy is continued. It is very similar to other Audi’s on the inside and if you have been driving an Audi before, you wont need much time to get familiar with the e-tron. The cabin is plush and high quality – totally worthy of the money being shelled out for this one. And being the luxury car it is, the backseat is most comfortable compared to its rivals. The dashboard is uncluttered, layered and nicely wraps itself around the cabin, flowing seamlessly into the door pads. The twin screen setup is the most striking detail – one for the infotainment and the other for the climate control, both of which are angled towards the driver. What gives the e-tron its futuristic feel is the superb virtual cockpit (full-digital instrument cluster), which is one of the best units around when it comes to display quality and ease of use.
E-tron gets a twin-axle motor and all wheel drive. In its sport setting, the e-tron generates 408hp / 664Nm power (184hp at the front axle and 224hp at the rear). In normal modes, it generates 360hp / 561Nm power (170hp at the front axle and 190hp at the rear). The standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, a four zone climate control, wireless charging and reverse camera. The e-tron also comes with adaptive air-suspension which is a segment first for EV’s in India. Included as a part of its extensive options list are the digital Matrix LED headlamps which have a cool trick up their sleeve – in addition to lighting up the road very well, these also perform a theatrical light show whenever you lock or unlock the vehicle. The options list also features an on-board air purifier, perfume, ambient lighting with 30 colour options, a 16-speaker 705W Bang and Olufsen premium sound system, head-up display, soft-closing doors and then some more. Features such as ventilated seats, wireless phone connectivity and connected car tech, to name a few, are missing altogether.
Audi also provides a host of premium safety features that proactively sense and avoid danger rather than simply react to it. The car is fitted with 8 full size air bags and an acoustic sound generator that generates a sound through external speakers making it safer for others. It is also equipped with an intuitive feature ‘Audi pre-sense basic’ that initiates preventive protection in critical driving situations such as emergency braking and handling at absolute limits of performance. Battery housing and crash structures secure the battery pack and ensure a high degree of crash safety in critical situations.
Performance wise, e-tron isn’t the fastest car amongst its cohort. It is however able to easily reach 0-100kmph is less than 6 seconds which is commendable given the massive size of this vehicle. The e-tron’s biggest flex is how effortlessly it rides. The air suspension makes the car glide over bumps. One wouldn’t even hear them inside the cabin. The e-tron runs on massive 20-inch wheels but there are equally high profile tyres cushioning you from the road. In terms of priorities, Audi has a clear focus towards comfort over everything else. The Quattro traction system blindly sticks to the tarmac giving it plenty of grip to easily handle even sharp turns.
The e-tron draws its power from a 95kWh battery pack that claims to give a 484 km driving range(as per WLTP standards). The real world range however would vary between 270-400km depending on how the car is driven and which mode is used. with regeneration in stop-go city traffic range can be maximized. High speeds and inclines send that range plummeting. The e-tron has an effective regen system that isn’t too disorienting when used. It can be adjusted with the paddles and even in its strongest setting, the deceleration feels natural. The battery thermal management system heats up or cools down the battery in response to the ambient temperature. This optimizes battery longevity and ensures reproducible performance. To charge the e-tron at home or office, the company supplied cable can be used. This is a 11kWh compact charging system that takes 8-10 hours for a full charge. An optional 22kW charger is also provided on board that can be used at public AC charging stations and Audi dealerships. This reduces the charging time by 50%. At high output DC charging stations, the charging can be done using 150kW DC (120kW for Audi e-tron 50) chargers which promise to charge 80% battery in 30 minutes.
Though Audi claims these efficient charging features make the vehicle suitable for long journeys, in real life scenarios these long trips would still be a problem in the absence of suitable charging infrastructure. This is where Xobolt comes into picture by aiming to become the backbone of EVs in India by providing great services for charging electric vehicles. We intend to provide an easy solution for charging (one of the most important concerns with EVs) by providing the best services for charging your electric car.
Our charging stations are available at at public spaces like malls, offices, restaurants, etc. as well as on several locations along highways so you do not have to worry about finding places for charging when going long distance in your EV. Our Charging Management System is formulated keeping in mind the need of every car. Once you get our app, you can access our chargers at your convenience. You can even get one installed at your residence. If you install our electric vehicle charging station at your car parking spot, you will be able to give your electric vehicle a full charge without any hassle. Safety as well as convenience are important when it comes to charging and Xobolt guarantees both.
The launch of the e-tron clearly indicates the dawn of a new era for EV’s in India. Going ahead, we can only expect to see more and more EV’s on Indian roads. The government is cognizant of this fact and has therefore rolled out a roadmap for faster EV adoption through its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP). A major factor contributing towards the objective is the availability of a superior electric charging infrastructure provided by a whole ecosystem of companies including Xobolt. This development is also expected to create multiple income generation opportunities for a wide variety of people. Connect with us to explore more of this electrifying opportunity.