Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Audi unveils its all-electric Tesla Mannequin X competitor, the e-tron

Audi unveils its all-electric Tesla Mannequin X competitor, the e-tron

The Audi e-tron will boast a 95-kilowatt-hour battery, full-time all-wheel drive and a host of interconnected goodies to make owning the automaker's first series full-electric vehicle more enjoyable.

The SUV employs a pair of cooled asynchronous motors attached to single-stage transmissions to deliver torque to the e-tron's axles.

"When you tell an engineer that you want an electric auto with lots of range, they don't immediately jump to SUV as their first choice for obvious reasons of physics", Marc Lichte, Audi's head of design, told reporters at an event before the reveal. Add in styling that has helped Audi attract a growing percentage of upscale buyers in the USA, and it's clear the e-tron is taking full aim at Tesla (TSLA). Volkswagen Group's Electrify America network of charging stations will include about 500 stations by the year 2019.

The first 300 lighted flying objects already greeted guests from all over the world, conjuring up the familiar four-ringed logo of Audi above their heads in a display that the guests called "electrifying".

However, Audi's charging infrastructure pales in comparison to Tesla's.

Called "e-tron", the vehicle will hit European and American markets by the end of this year.

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The e-tron motor system is created to recover energy as soon as you back off the accelerator as well as when you press the brake pedal.

In addition, the e-tron uses an adaptive suspension setup that can raise the vehicle's ground clearance by three inches according to several parameters: speed, driving approach, and road conditions.

Revealed last night in San Francisco, the brand's first all-electric model offers a range of 250 miles and can regain most of that range in around 30 minutes using a high-power 150kW on-board charger. And of course, the e-tron's brakes are capable of energy regeneration.

Inside, the e-tron quattro is rather conventional, featuring a cabin that wouldn't look out of place in any of Audi's latest flagship models - think A6, A7 and A8.

Audi will present the first beneficiary of another e-platform by the end of 2018: the Audi e-tron GT concept showcar. The e-tron's MMI infotainment system has even been fully integrated with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant, so drivers can use voice commands to listen to music, control connected home devices or use Alexa skills as they would on their home-based Alexa-enabled device. After that, Audi will roll out battery-powered vehicles covering all major segments from compact vehicles to upscale limousines. Further out, Audi is promising that among the 25 "e-mobility" electric cars by 2015 will be cars of every size, shape and price range.

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