Ernest Hemingway once wrote that “today is only one day in all the days that will ever be, but what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” This truth speaks so well to the recent but rapid advent of electric cars. Once dismissed as good-natured but expensive projects for the wealthy and environmentally conscious, these vehicles are now as ubiquitous as ever thanks to the audacious but successful practices employed by Elon Musk through Tesla to show battery-powered vehicles as sexy, fast, simple, yet green. Such progress has now caught the attention of legacy automakers such as Chevrolet, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, and Mercedes-Benz, which has resulted in a recent explosion of electric vehicle releases onto the global market.
On first view, the vehicle can be summed up in one word: beautiful. The more luxurious daughter brand in the Volkswagen Group family does a great job of combining simplicity with beauty that allows it to speak so much about itself in such few words. Its overall design is reminiscent of a Porsche, yet has a scent of Tesla as well.
The outside is just as gorgeous as the inside, as the leather seating beseech you to have a seat and take it for a good ride. The stylish interior is perfectly offset by a dual-center touchscreen setup that splits between climate control and general vehicle functions along with a premium 3D sound system courtesy of the legendary Bang & Olfusen.
Additional noteworthy features include a top-view camera system with a virtual 360-degree and curb views, parking and lane assist, panoramic sunroof, and twelve-way power heated and ventilated front seats with driver memory. (Though, there are no current plans for autonomous services akin to Tesla’s Autopilot.) Though the futuristic gear shifter has a slight learning curve, it still nevertheless speaks to Audi’s commitment to further differentiate the e-tron from anything else on the road.
As expected, the vehicle has a quiet but tenacious powertrain that allows its 95 kilowatt-hour battery to quickly pump out 402 horsepower and 489 lb-ft of torque, which helps the car to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (slightly slower than a Tesla Model 3) despite its heavy frame of 5,644 pounds. It’s needless to say that such a rush of instantaneous and steadily maintained maximum power straight from when one touches the pedal can only be described as an exhilarating (but smooth) jolt that makes it truly a joy to drive (especially smooth with the adaptive air suspension).
Audi has gone to great lengths to take care of its future customers through a four-year, 50,000 mile basic warranty that covers the motor, with a separate eight-year, 100,000 mile warranty for the liquid-cooled battery, which, unlike its competitors, can be repaired rather than replaced in most cases.
Furthermore, the brand has partnered with Electrify America to provide 1,000 hours of free charging across its network of 2,000 ultra-fast chargers. Such ultra-fast chargers allow the vehicle to charge the battery pack from 0 to 80 percent in just 30 minutes when using its 150-kilowatt recharging capability.
Currently, the company is accepting online reservations with a $1,000 deposit while offering test drives at most Audi dealerships worldwide. Global deliveries will commence by August or September.
Many thanks to Mort Rezaee and Audi Chantilly in Northern Virginia for the opportunity to explore such a wonderful vehicle. It is good to know that the future of the car is arriving, and that automakers such as Audi are preparing for it.