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Geneva show: Audi reveals all-electric prototype

Leading the charge: The Audi e-tron will be the first all-electric vehicle in the German car-maker’s stable when it arrives locally in 2019.

New e-tron prototype to preview Audi’s first pure-electric production vehicle

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Audi logo7 Mar 2018

By ROBBIE WALLIS

AUDI has unveiled its latest e-tron all-electric offering, in the form of the pre-production e-tron prototype that the German manufacturer plans to release in Europe by the end of the year.

Revealed at the Geneva show, the production version is set to land in Australia in 2019 as the first fully electric Audi offering Down Under.

The e-tron prototype takes the form of an SUV with “the space and comfort of a typical luxury car”, according to the brand, and will have around 500km of driving range.

It is a pre-production version of the e-tron quattro concept revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, which was powered by a 320kW/800Nm powertrain driven through three separate electric motors, which can be temporarily boosted to 370kW.

Using a 95kWh lithium-ion battery that purportedly weighs 650kg under the vehicle’s floor, the e-tron quattro concept featured a zero-to-100km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds while on the way to a top speed of 210km/h.

The production version will be able to top up its battery at fast-charging stations with up to 150kW charging capacity, which would enable a 30-minute charging time.

In order to prepare the vehicle for production, Audi is deploying nearly 250 prototypes across four continents to conduct real-world testing in climate zones ranging from -20 degrees to +50 degrees Celsius.

Audi anticipates that the prototypes will cover over five-million kilometres, equivalent to around 85,000 hours on the road.

Enhancing its environmentally friendly reputation, each e-tron will be built in a carbon-neutral plant in Brussels, Belgium.

Visually, the e-tron protoype has a low-set stance for an SUV, while the headlight design looks similar to that of the recently-revealed all-new A6 large car.

Audi’s trademark hexagonal grille is present despite the lack of a combustion engine, and the semi-camouflage livery is designed to look like the word ‘e-tron’ has been charged with electricity.

The orange-and-black paint along the bottom of the vehicle is designed to mimic the high-voltage battery pack along the vehicle’s floor, while the tail-light features an unbroken lighting signature across the entirety of the tailgate.

Audi AG chairman of the board of management Rupert Stadler said the e-tron would be the first of many electrified Audis to join the range in coming years.

“Audi sets an important milestone for the company’s future with its first purely electrically powered model,” he said.

“In 2020, we will have three all-electric vehicles in our product range, with a four-door Gran Turismo – the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept – and a model in the compact segment joining the sporty SUV.

“We will be launching more than 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2025 – spread across all segments and concepts.”

The e-tron Sportback concept revealed at last year’s Shanghai motor show is also expected to make it to Australia in production form.

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