Hey, CleanTechies. Have you got 41 minutes to spare? Cuz if you do, Audi has put together a video that details the development of the Audi e-tron, the company’s first all-electric SUV. Five years in the making (and people say Elon Musk moves slowly!), the process was documented on camera every step of the way. (Hint — if crash testing is your thing, fast forward to the 8 minute mark in the video.)
The video begins with a spectacular shot of a squadron of lighted drones forming the Audi logo in the night sky over San Francisco Bay. What does that have to do with building an electric car? Absolutely nothing, but it is very cool nonetheless.
The video odyssey takes the viewer to Audi facilities in Germany, Hungary, and Belgium. The various locations include the factory where the batteries were developed, where the battery packs are built, where the electric motors are produced, and where the aerodynamic characteristics of the new car were created. Through it all, the extensive testing that went into making the e-tron production ready is documented.
The announcer on the video repeatedly emphasizes how expensive the development process was and how the team that created the car was under enormous pressure to get it right every step of the way. It’s curious in a way. It comes off sounding like, “We really didn’t want to waste all this time and money doing this but those pesky EU regulators and the damned Elon Musk made us do it.”
If nothing else, the video demonstrates just how much goes into creating an all new car in the modern age. We have come a long way since every blacksmith and bicycle manufacturer in the world could slap one together out in the barn in a night or two.
As a refresher, the e-tron (what does Audi have against capitalization, anyway?) is a 5-passenger SUV that falls between the company’s current Q5 and Q7 in size. It has a maximum of 402 horsepower in boost mode from two electric motors — 165 kW in the rear and 135 kW in the front — and a 95 kWh battery pack. Peak torque is listed as 490 lb-ft. Prices in the US (it should be in showrooms shortly) start at $75,795.
Clearly, the e-tron is supposed to go head to head with the Tesla Model S. It also will compete with the Jaguar I-PACE which is in showrooms now and starts at about $5,000 less than the Audi. Will it be a winner for Audi in the marketplace? Ask us next year at this time.
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