Audi E-tron long-term test: report 5

We're among the first to find out how Audi's new electric luxury SUV performs in daily use. Is it a Tesla beater?...

Audi E-tron long term

The car Audi E-tron 55 quattro Run by Allan Muir, managing editor

Why it’s here To see whether Audi has succeeded in raising the bar for electric vehicles with its advanced Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X rival

Needs to Pamper its occupants as thoroughly as any regular luxury SUV and be able to cover virtually any distance without undue recharging concerns

Mileage 3848 List price £71,560 (before £3500 gov't grant) Target Price £71,560 Price as tested £78,245 Test range 220 miles Official range 241 miles

20 August 2019 – 1000 miles in a week 

The E-tron’s range hasn’t been much of a concern for me so far; 220-odd miles is actually plenty for my needs, although it could always be better. More of an issue is the time it takes to recharge the 95kWh battery pack, especially at home. 

Audi E-tron long term

Given that hooking it up to my 3kW wallbox for 12 hours adds only about 50% to the battery capacity and just over 100 miles of range, I wasn’t sure how well the car would cope with doing back-to-back long trips. Could I get it recharged quickly enough to give me a decent range for the next day’s journey? To find out, I spent the best part of an entire week doing a series of day trips around the south of England, mainly to go cycling, covering almost exactly 1000 miles in the process. 

Audi E-tron long term

Although some of those trips could have been completed on a single charge, I erred on the side of caution and built in a few top-ups at public rapid chargers, because I wanted to avoid returning home with a heavily depleted battery and not being able to get back to 100% by the next morning. My plan backfired to a certain extent, because on two consecutive days I forgot to reset the charging target to 100% (you can specify when recharging stops via the infotainment system) and had only 80% one day and 50% the next. However, that didn’t deter me; I simply had to stop earlier than planned for another top-up.

But as I said, it still takes time to replenish a battery as large as the E-tron’s. Top-ups from about 35% to 80% took 45-50 minutes via Ecotricity 50kW rapid chargers, as you get at most motorway services, and slightly longer at a GeniePoint site at a suburban service station. I got into the habit of taking a book with me to help while away the time. The cost in each case was about £11 or £12. 

Audi E-tron long term

However, it was a different story when I tried one of the new Ionity 350kW chargers at Maidstone services in Kent. With the E-tron recharging at its maximum rate of 150kW, the speed at which the gauge climbed was glorious to behold. That day I got from 20% to 80% in just 22 minutes – three times faster than most other chargers. 

Audi E-tron long term

It was also the cheapest of the ones I tried, because Ionity currently charges a flat rate of £8 no matter how much energy you take. The only problem right now is that there are very few such high-power chargers in the UK, but they’re coming, thankfully.

Audi E-tron long term

In the end, I didn’t find it difficult to cover such distances in the E-tron – although the fact that I wasn’t in any hurry no doubt helped. There are sometimes quite a few variables to deal with – charging points already in use or not working, crucial phone apps misbehaving and so on – and the amount of faffing around can be tedious at times, but I’d undertake a trip of any length in the E-tron with confidence, in the UK, at least.

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