Audi unveils an electric SUV and it's taking deposits now

Joining a growing number of luxury auto makers, Audi unveiled a new all-electric SUV. Called the E-Tron, the...

Posted: Sep 18, 2018 2:35 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2018 2:35 PM

Joining a growing number of luxury auto makers, Audi unveiled a new all-electric SUV. Called the E-Tron, the SUV will be available in Europe later this year and in the United States next spring.

Audi said it is taking refundable $1,000 deposits for the E-Tron starting now. Prices will start at about $75,000 or $86,700 for well-equipped "First Edition" models.

It's the first of three new electric vehicles Audi will introduce over the next few years. The German luxury automaker, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, also announced it is partnering with Amazon to handle installation of home charging stations for E-Tron buyers.

The E-Tron was revealed at an event on the San Francisco waterfront. Hundreds of drones formed Audi's four ring logo over a former Ford factory turned event space.

The SUV was unveiled here because the E-Tron was designed with the US market especially on mind, Audi executives said.

While it might not generate the excitement of a Tesla unveiling -- that company received hundreds of thousands of dollars in deposits for its Model 3 within hours of that car's debut -- the E-Tron increases the competitive pressure.

The E-Tron follows Jaguar's I-Pace electric SUV. Mercedes and BMW also recently unveiled electric SUVs that will go on sale within the next couple of years.

These offerings are all SUVs mostly because the market, in general, has shifted heavily in that direction.

"We wanted to be in the SUV space because we saw the growth and we wanted to be in the sweet spot of the market," said Filip Brabec, Audi's vice president for product development.

Car shoppers considering an electric car today are no longer interested in their vehicle looking radically different from anything else on the road, said Brabec.

The E-Tron looks, quite clearly, like an Audi SUV. It even has Audi's famous trapezoidal grill, a key branding feature, despite not needing a radiator. The grill allows air to pass through under the battery to provide some additional cooling.

There are some unique attributes, though. The E-Tron stands a little wider than Audi's other SUVs. Slats running across the rear bumper draw attention to the car's lack of tailpipes, while there are lights in the front that are designed to look like the bars of a charge status indicator.

In Europe, the E-Tron won't have traditional side mirrors. Instead, it will have a camera on each side where mirrors would ordinarily be. The views from those cameras will be displayed on screens inside the vehicle.

That system will not be available in the United States because safety regulations here don't allow for it. Audi executives said they are working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to bring this feature to the American market.

With two electric motors, the all-wheel-drive SUV can accelerate from zero to 60 miles an hour in 5.5 seconds and it has a top speed of 124 miles an hour. It will be able to tow as much as 4,000 pounds. Audi has not yet announced what its driving range will be on a full charge.

When the E-Tron is cruising, rather than accelerating, it is driven mostly by the rear motor. Engineers put a heavy emphasis on recuperating as much energy as possible while driving. That's generally done as a vehicle brakes or slows by allowing the wheels to push the electric motors, which then act as generators.

In the E-Tron, the driver will be able to select how aggressively the car uses this system, allowing for "one pedal" driving in which taking pressure off the accelerator pedal will slow the car to a full stop using only the motors.

As with other Audi vehicles, the driver will also be able to select different driving modes, from comfortable to sporty, that will alter suspension stiffness, steering responsiveness and how aggressively the SUV accelerates. The SUVs ground clearance is also adjustable by as much as three inches.

Buyers will be able to purchase a home charging system and have it installed by Amazon Home Services. The installation can be ordered online. Pricing will vary depending on each homeowner's needs.

Audi plans to release two more electric vehicles in the next two years and a total of 12 by 2025.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20931250
Hinds19961410
Harrison17562303
Rankin13369277
Jackson13156243
Madison9950212
Lee9890170
Jones8310161
Forrest7542148
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Marshall4286102
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Tate325384
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Scott311472
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Simpson289586
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Holmes187172
Clay183254
Stone179733
Clarke177776
Tallahatchie176140
Calhoun165431
Yalobusha160136
Smith159334
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126534
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113832
Jefferson Davis105532
Tunica103225
Claiborne101330
Benton97525
Kemper95628
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Franklin82923
Quitman78916
Choctaw73917
Wilkinson65128
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
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Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
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Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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