Audi currently does not have any fully electric model that they can call their own after the R8 E-Tron has been discontinued last year. But this year, they showed us concepts of the E-Tron Quattro and the E-Tron Sportback (at Auto Shanghai), and the good news is that the zero-emissions SUV will finally begin production at their Brussels, Belgium factory. The SUV will then be followed by its sleeker counterpart, the Sportback, in 2019.
What sets the E-Tron Sportback apart from the others is the fact that it is a “four-door gran turismo”, with a powertrain of 430 horsepower (320 kilowatts) at standard, and an impressive 496 horsepower (370 kilowatts) when the boost mode is activated. In just four and a half seconds, it can hit 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour). That’s very impressive for a full electric vehicle, but we shouldn’t be too excited until the production model has been tested, and that’s a long while from now.
In today’s world, there is this thing we call “range anxiety”. It simply refers to the stress or anxiety that people who own EVs get, knowing that their car runs on battery power, and that it can simply shut off when the battery gets drained. So the issue is whether they would get to their destination before they’ll have to recharge their vehicles, especially for long distance drives.
But with the new E-Tron Sportback, that should not be an issue, as it can cover over 310 miles (500 kilometers) between charges with its large 95 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. But you should never be too comfortable to the point that you’ll push your car to its limit. That figure was also based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and it’s not always that accurate. This is because range in the real world will often be lower, and it will also depend on many other factors.
Concepts often look better than actual production models, so I suggest that you don’t set your standards too high. For instance, those side cameras will probably end up like conventional mirrors, while expect the wheels to be slightly smaller than the 22-inch wheels that the concept has. Plus, the production will probably not feature invisible door handles like that in the concept photos. What might remain though are the dual touch screens, since the new A8 is already featuring that.
We will have to wait until next year to get a better idea of how the Sportback will look after the E-Tron Quattro’s launch. And who knows, maybe Audi will fill in the gap the R8 E-Tron left by coming out with a fully electric supercar.