According to Audi, the EPA-estimated driving range for the new Audi E-tron electric SUV is 204 miles. Using the vehicle’s Boost Mode, which unleashes the E-tron’s maximum 402 horsepower and delivers acceleration to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, will have a deleterious effect on that figure.
Compared to other modern electric vehicles, the Audi E-tron’s range is unimpressive. But it might not matter. Audi, defending the range estimate, cites a 2018 Maritz survey that says people who own luxury vehicles drive an average of 30 miles per day. The company further explains that 98% of single trips taken in the U.S. are shorter than 50 miles.
The data might tell a good story. Audi, however, appears to forget that luxury buyers want “the best,” whatever that means.
C’mon, Of Course it Matters!
Often, when someone is shopping for a new luxury vehicle, getting “the best” has something to do with a number. It could be the loftiest price, or the fastest performance, or even the highest numerals on the back of the vehicle. In the case of an electric vehicle, “the best” could pertain to driving range.
It’s all about bragging rights, but because we’re talking about cultured consumers here, the boasting is subtle. The people with the greatest means choose the Audi RS 7 – even if they have no intention of exploring that vehicle’s performance capabilities – because it puts owners of the Audi A7 and S7 in their rightful place on society’s hierarchy. In other words, the RS 7 is “the best,” and it sends that message to others.
Currently, in the electric luxury SUV segment, competition is almost non-existent. You’ve got the new Audi E-tron ($74,800). You’ve got the Jaguar I-Pace ($69,500). And you’ve got the Tesla Model X ($89,500). The Audi can go 204 miles on a charge. The Jaguar supplies 234 miles. The Tesla covers 295 miles.
Others are coming, though, and soon. Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Polestar are putting the final touches on their first entries, and BMW isn’t far behind. No doubt, Jaguar’s platform will find its way into the Land Rover lineup, and Tesla will soon field the Model Y with more range and a lower price than the Audi.
Time to figure out how to extract extra range from that battery, Audi.
But Wait, Does it Matter at All?
Audi is known for delivering quality, and the company suggests that perhaps unlike its current competition, the new E-tron is going to deliver satisfaction in ways other than by providing maximum driving range.
For example, Audi says the E-tron is purposely designed to use no more than 88% of the 95 kWh battery’s capacity. This, in combination with a special battery cooling system, is to ensure longevity over time.
Audi also points to the E-tron’s unique vehicle-to-infrastructure technology, including Traffic Light Information and Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory systems. It also comes with Toll Module Integration, designed to work in every U.S. state thereby eliminating the need for specific transponders.
Furthermore, the E-tron is ready for 150-kW “superchargers” right out of the box, providing an estimated 54 miles of range after 10 minutes of charging and 163 miles if you can wait for half an hour. Electrify America, with whom Audi has partnered, is rapidly rolling out these superchargers across 42 states and in 17 major metropolitan regions.
Planning to charge at home with a 240-volt Level 2 station? Audi says the E-tron fully charges in about nine hours. Go to bed with a depleted battery, and wake up with a full one.
There are other bennies, too. Audi is giving E-tron buyers 1,000 kWh of free charging at Electrify America stations. (That’s roughly 2,000 miles of range.) Every E-tron also comes with complimentary myAudi App smartphone functions as well as roadside assistance.
Oh, and don’t forget about the $7,500 federal tax credit that is in effect for the Audi, but is going to disappear for the Tesla.
Does the unexpectedly low 204-mile range estimate for the Audi E-tron matter? That’s up to you to decide. Depending on how you live, and whether bragging rights are important, it might not matter one bit.