Audi is beginning to reveal specifications for its e-tron electric SUV, and things aren't getting off to the best start. The German automaker said the estimated range of the e-tron, which starts production later this year, will be shorter than what was originally discussed.
When the first concept version of the e-tron debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi discussed a range of 500 kilometers, or about 310 miles. The automaker now says the production version will have a range of 400 km, or about 248 miles. That's as measured on the European Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure testing cycle; it's unclear what the number for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency testing cycle will be.
That range figure is still respectable, and should be more than adequate for many drivers. But it indicates that the e-tron will be a contender rather than a champ. On the EPA testing cycle, all versions of the Tesla Model X except the base 75D version (which is rated at 237 miles of range) beat the Audi. Jaguar expects its I-Pace to deliver 240 miles of range.
The production-spec e-tron will have a 95-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, and will be capable of recharging at 150-kilowatt DC fast-charging stations, according to Audi. Stations with that much power are few and far between right now, but Audi claims there will be about 200 installed along major highways in Germany by the end of the year. Audi parent Volkswagen is partnering with other automakers to build a network of DC fast-charging stations across Europe, with the goal of installing 400 stations by 2020.
The e-tron will also be equipped for Level 2 AC charging at 11 kilowatts or 22 kW. Customers will be able to sign up for a myAudi card that will provide access to 80 percent of Europe's AC and DC public charging stations, according to the automaker. Charging at a given station often requires setting up an account with the operator of that station, so electric-car drivers typically carry multiple cards to ensure access to all available stations. The myAudi program should make things simpler.
Using a three-phase outlet, the e-tron will be able to recharge off a household electrical system at 11 kW in 8.5 hours, according to Audi, although the automaker will also offer a special connector that doubles charging power. The e-tron will also be equipped with an energy-management system that balances charging with other household electricity demands, and allows owners to schedule charging during times when cheaper off-peak electricity rates apply.
Audi will build the e-tron at a factory in Belgium beginning later this year, but the automaker hasn't confirmed a U.S. launch date.