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Audi Australia evaluates electrification plans

Bright spark: Despite the availability of four new plug-in hybrid models (left) overseas, Audi Australia is focusing its attention on the battery-electric e-tron (below) now due next year.

No PHEV confirmation yet as WLTP forces Audi to push e-tron BEV launch to Q1 2020

26 Mar 2019

AUDI Australia says it remains committed to electrification, although it has stopped short of confirming its next generation of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) for a local release, while its first battery-electric vehicle, the e-tron mid-size SUV, will now go on sale later than expected.
Speaking to GoAuto this week at the Audi Driving Experience 2019 national media launch at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Audi Australia corporate communications manager Shaun Cleary said PHEV – or TFSIe – versions of the Q5 mid-size SUV, A6 and A7 large sedans, and A8 upper-large sedan that were revealed last month are currently being evaluated locally.
“The Audi brand strategy with electrification is there’s going to be 30 electrified models by 2025, so that’s a lot of models, and it’s a key part of our strategy which we’ll support certainly in Australia,” he said.
“For us, at the moment, the focus is on e-tron, which will be the first fully electric car. We’ve already had the Q7 e-tron and A3 e-tron (PHEVs) in the past.
“We’re evaluating those (TFSIe) models and some future ones, too, that are still to be announced and revealed, as you’d imagine, being 30 of them.
“But we’re certainly looking to support, and we will be engaged with the overall electrification strategy over the coming years.”
As reported, the turbo-petrol TFSIe models provide 40km of electric-only driving range from their 14.1kWh lithium-ion battery packs. Further details on their individual set-ups are yet to be released.
While the e-tron was originally set for a mid-year launch, it has been pushed back to the first quarter of 2020 due to a homologation delay related to Europe’s new WLTP testing standard (see separate story).
Asked how much consideration Audi Australia has given charging infrastructure for the e-tron, which provides 400km of driving range using the WLTP regulation, Mr Cleary said several deals with third parties have already been locked in.
“Bearing in mind that we were planning originally to introduce it mid-year, we’re a long way down the road with that planning and being ready,” he said.
According to Mr Cleary, Audi Australia has partnered with EV charging specialist Jet Charge to offer e-tron buyers an all-in-one home solution that includes a 22kW AC wallbox, which can top up the BEV’s 95kWh lithium-ion battery pack from 10 to 80 per cent in 4.5 hours.
“It’s about packaging that up for people, whether it’s in their house (or) their garage, most likely,” he said. “There’s other options, too, depending on what their circumstances are.
“It’s difficult to offer a one-size-fits-all solution, because it’s more about your house or your garage or your carpark or whatever it is.
“So, that’s why we’ve taken the approach to customise it to every individual, but what we’ve done is create an experience that takes care of that all for the customer.”
When topping up away from home, Mr Cleary said e-tron owners are expected to take advantage of the increasing number of public destination chargers, including the Chargefox fast-charging DC network that Audi Australia is a founding partner of, alongside other OEMs.
“The e-tron is the fastest-charging EV on the global market at the moment,” he said. “So, it means we can take full advantage of that speed and charge 80 per cent of the car’s capacity in half an hour, which is pretty impressive.”
Buyers blown away by the e-tron’s side-view cameras, which can optionally replace its traditional wing mirrors, are in luck, as GoAuto understands that the concept-like feature is increasingly likely to head Down Under, despite initial concern that it would not pass ADRs.
While not yet confirmed for Australia, a coupe-style Sportback version of the e-tron could soon head Down Under, while other BEVs possibly on the way include the Q4 e-tron small SUV and e-tron GT large car, both of which have already been shown in concept form.

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