More Audi e-tron electric SUV details revealed

Audi has revealed some more facts and figures about its upcoming all-electric e-tron SUV, which will be revealed on 17 September.

The e-tron develops 402bhp. However, that maximum power output is only available for eight seconds through a boost mode accessed through the "S" drive mode on the drive selector. By default, the e-tron develops 355bhp, enabling a 0-62mph dash in less than six seconds. The prototype"s top speed is electronically limited to 124mph.

• Best electric cars on the market

Audi claims that up to 30 per cent of the e-tron"s total range is accounted for by energy recuperation, and that the overwhelming majority of recuperation is handled by the electric motors and not the brakes. The company says that 90 per cent of the time, the car"s motors handle braking rather than the individual wheel brakes. The driver can select the level of recuperation using paddles mounted on the steering wheel, ranging from no additional drag on the motor whatsoever, to high recuperation whereby the car can be driven on one pedal.

Audi says that its recuperation technology can add one kilometre of range for every kilometre travelled downhill, if the most severe recuperation mode is selected.

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A 95kWh battery pack has been confirmed, made up of 36 shoebox style battery modules. The batteries are housed in the floor of the vehicle for better weight distribution.

A revised all-electric range has been issued under new, stricter WLTP testing standards. Audi claims that the e-tron will be capable of over 249 miles on a single charge. The SUV sits on an adapted version of the MLB platform that underpins the Q5 and Q7.

On the charging front, Audi claims the e-tron"s extensive thermal management system will enable the car to recharge at a Tesla-beating output of up to 150kW at DC charging stations. It means that at stations capable of charging at such a rate - such as the IONITY charging points currently being built by a wide group of European manufacturers - the e-tron will recharge from flat to 80 per cent in less than half an hour.

Audi will also launch what it calls the e-tron Charging Service, which it says will grant buyers access to around 80 per cent of Europe"s charging points, regardless of operator. Buyers will only have to carry one ‘e-tron card’ rather than several for different charging suppliers. From mid-2019 onwards, all e-tron models rolling off the firm"s Belgian production line won"t need the card at all, and will support a system called Plug & Charge. The system will automatically authenticate the car at the charging station.

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An 11kW home charger will be included as standard, enabling an 8.5-hour recharge. A 22kW system cuts this to 4.5 hours, and enables smart charging by selecting off-peak hours to recharge the vehicle if the owner desires. 

Design-wise, the production e-tron is set to be subtly toned down from the design of the concept first seen in 2015. With designer Marc Lichte determined to add more differentiation between models, the e-tron will feature a different front end shape to the Q5 and Q7, with a smaller, partially blanked grille and reshaped headlamps.

A broad shoulder line is expected to stretch the length of the SUV’s side profile, while a coupe-like rear end shape will help give it a sleeker look than other Audi SUVs. Aerodynamics are a big focus, as the firm looks to trump the I-Pace with a drag coefficient target of just 0.25Cd, maximising the battery’s range. To that end, slim side cameras are set to be offered in place of wing mirrors.

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The interior of the e-tron has been revealed, with clear influence from the Q8 in terms of the appearance of the dashboard. It features Audi"s new dual-screen setup with haptic feedback displays, while a 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel is also equipped. Placed on each door are fourth and fifth displays to support the optional rear view cameras.

It’s possible that Audi will adopt Tesla’s strategy of offering a number of power outputs, allowing a competitive entry price as well as more expensive performance variants. However, the 95kWh limit seems like the maximum output due to space constraints, so any further e-tron models using the electrified platform will likely feature smaller battery packs and boast more affordable price tags. 

The e-tron is the first vehicle in Audi"s all-out assault on the premium SUV market, with eight new high-riding models due to arrive before the end of the decade. 

Would you pick the Audi e-tron over the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace? Let us know in the comments section below...