Audi E-tron Sportback long-term test: report 2

Can you live with a fully electric car if you can't charge at home? We're finding out with the help of the Audi E-tron Sportback...

LT Audi E-tron Sportback charging

The car Audi E-tron Sportback 55 quattro 96kWh S line Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it's here We want to see if Audi's electric coupé SUV feels worthy of its £80k price tag and fits into everyday life

Needs to Deliver a wow factor befitting its price, and not be compromised by its mode of propulsion or sleek looks

Mileage 1420 List price £80,675 Target Price £75,678 Price as tested £84,795 Test range 230 miles Official range 247 miles

26 June 2021 – Fuel for thought

Imagine if you stopped to fill up with petrol and couldn’t pay with cash or a credit card. Instead, you had to download a glitchy smartphone app, or alternatively, to have pre-ordered a special pump access card and linked it to an online payment account. Oh, and imagine if you needed to have different apps or cards to use the petrol stations of different fuel brands.

Electric car charging station instructions

I’m guessing you’d think it was ridiculous, yet I’m finding this is all too often the reality of electric car charging in the UK, despite government advice that all rapid chargers built from spring 2020 onwards should allow contactless credit card payments.

The fact that the chargers of some companies seem to spend more time broken than working can add to the frustration. And many rapid chargers are positioned directly ahead of where you park, which is great if you have an electric car with a socket in its nose, but not if you plug into the front wing as you do in my Audi E-tron Sportback, because then it means stretching the cable over the bonnet and praying it doesn’t scratch the paint.

LT Audi E-tron Sportback charging outside McDonalds

Fortunately, there are some honourable exceptions, with Instavolt chargers – at least the ones in my corner of West London – particularly impressive. I’ve never turned up to find any of them out of order, you simply have to plug in and swipe your credit card to start receiving electricity, and the charging units themselves are positioned towards the corners of the parking spaces, within easy reach of the sockets on all types of electric car.

It’s a real shame all this isn’t the norm, because aside from the aforementioned charging frustrations, the E-tron is proving a joy to live with. The way it isolates you from the outside world, both in terms of its ability to soak up bumps and to shut out wind and road noise, is absolutely outstanding. And while many electric cars seem to lose a couple of miles of range for every mile you cover, the E-tron’s range readout is very accurate, even at motorway speeds, so I never find myself worrying that I’m going to have to make an unplanned stop.

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