Motor Trend had the opportunity to test Audi’s new electric e-tron SUV. The results show the difficulties of achieving EPA range ratings in a variety of real-world conditions.
The EPA-rated range for the e-tron is 204 miles of range per charge, less than the Jaguar I-Pace (234 miles) and the Tesla Model X Long Range (325 miles). The e-tron’s battery pack is rated at 95 kilowatt-hour (kW-hr), but the electronics only allow the consumption of 83.6 kW-hr to preserve the drivetrain.
The first driving test occurred at the Honda Proving Center’s oval track. With the air conditioning at 70 degrees, Motor Trend’s test got 2.1 mi/kW-hr at 65 miles per hour, 2.0 mi/kW-hr at 70 mph, and 1.8 mi/kW-hr at 80 mph.
Testing on the track reported lower numbers because it was all highway driving and electric cars are not as efficient at higher speeds because of increased aerodynamic drag. Additionally, there was little acceleration or deceleration, which prevented the e-tron to take advantage of regenerative braking to recover energy.
The e-tron can charge at a rate up to 150 kW. According to Audi, it can restore 163 miles of range in only 30 minutes. But the issue is there are few 150-kW non-Tesla public chargers around.
The e-tron has a function called Auxiliary Air Conditioning that offers up to 30 minutes of air conditioning while charging; however, it’s not available if the car is at anything lower than a 25% charge level.
Motor Trend also completed a highway journey of 306.7 miles averaging 48 mph with the e-tron. The test averaged an efficiency of 2.2 mi/kW-hr, which equals 183.9 miles of range. However, the test vehicle had larger, heavier wheels — which would dimish range — and the testing was mainly done at highway speeds.
All in all, with a starting MSRP of $74,800, the 2019 Audi e-tron is not an EV for the everyman.