Audi e-tron 55 quattro could be our ideal EV
The electric car age is definitely upon us, not only on a global scale but locally as well. This electric mobility avenue has been met with some hesitation, mostly based on the fact that our infrastructure is not that great and South Africa is a rather large country. This makes long distance travel very common. A petrol or diesel vehicle has and will most likely be the preferred form of transport. That however hasn't prevented manufacturers from introducing their offerings. One such electric car which has made its way is the Audi etron 55. We gave it a go recently.
From the outside, this etron looks pretty much similar to other Audi SUV’s in the stable, which is a good thing. We’ve seen a few electric cars of late come across as a bit too extreme, a bit too futuristic. Audi has played it safe with a modern yet familiar design. The vehicle is definitely eye-catching. Especially when you notice the somewhat flared rear wheel arches and lits low-slung stance.
The front view however alludes to what this car is. The grille might look like that on other Audi SUV models however if you look closer you will notice that there are not that many air inlets. The grille has been optimized for aerodynamics, the lower bumper is sporty looking and the lights remain a unique design feature.
The rear is also as striking as the front thanks to a light bar that connects the tail lights. At night the Audi presents you with a unique light display thanks to LED technology. Lowerdown the bumper one will notice the absence of tailpipes. Other than that, the etron looks good, and in some cases quite normal to be honest.
The interior is equally as familiar as the exterior. Three large screens adorn the fascia which further adds to the modern appeal. The Virtual Cockpit or digital instrument cluster can be configured according to your needs. We had it display the map most of the time as this allows you to keep your eyes where they should be. The MMI infotainment screen offers haptic feedback, high-resolution display and houses most of the vehicle settings. Below that is the climate control screen where all comfort settings are housed.
Furthermore, Audi has added a unique hand rest which houses the gear-selector. It looks neat and makes good use of the space where one would usually find a gear-lever. Interior fit and finish is exceptional as one can expect from an Audi product these days. Interior space is also impressive thanks to cleverly positioned batteries.
So what about the motors, the range and what it’s like to charge up? The Audi etron Sportback 55 features a 95kWh battery that gives around 300kW and 600Nm of torque. It is one of the largest on offer. A DC charger at a shopping mall charges at 60kW per hour. This equates to around one and a half hours to fully charge the etron from empty to full. However, it is very seldom that you will arrive at the charger with a completely empty battery. One will calculate the charge cost on how many kWh are used and the price per kWh.
For example, we used around 29.8kWh worth of electricity. When you consider the cost of R5.88 per kWh, my charge cost around R175.22. If you however had to fully charge the vehicle, you would take the battery capacity, in this case 95kWh and multiply it by the cost per unit of electricity, R5,88. That equates to around R558 for around 400km of realistic range.
Out on the road, after you have gotten used to the instant power delivery, the regenerative braking and readjusting how you drive an EV, the etron becomes a lovely thing to drive around. Once used to it, the experience becomes entertaining and enjoyable. Could we park one of these on our driveway? Yes, we can. Sure we would have to adjust our driving habits and how we manage our time regarding charging but it is something to consider when you park up at the fuel station again