Audi launches electric SUV in Tesla's backyard, with help from Amazon

Audi e-tron

Finally! Say hello to the new Audi e-tron production model...

Audi's new e-tron, which hits the market next spring, has been heralded as a game changer by leaders of the German automaker. The e-tron is 5 inches (13 cm) shorter than the Tesla Model X, and it has conventional doors.

The luggage area measures 660L with the second row in place, including a 60L compartment under the floor.

Future owners of the 2019 Audi e-tron can be extra green with a new partnership between the automaker and Arcadia Power.

The e-tron's starting price is 79,900 euros in Germany, Audi said. Headlights are full LEDs and include four horizontal bars meant to look like a charging status indicator.

Navigation is standard on the e-tron and comes with a special route planner when paired with Audi's Connect Plus subscription service that offers suggested routes with available charging points.

According to Keogh, who spoke at the debut event, the e-tron made it to South Lake Tahoe "with an estimated 12 miles of battery left".

Buyers will be able to purchase a home charging system and have it installed by Amazon Home Services. A "First Edition" model (Audi's making only 999 units) will be available for the increased price of $86,700. By 2025 Audi will offer twelve models with all-electric drive in the most important markets worldwide and hopes to achieve roughly one-third of its sales with electrified models. Three hundred Intel drones lit up the San Francisco Bay to bring life to the building and "charge" its surroundings, welcoming guests arriving by boat as the drones formed the iconic Audi four-ring logo overhead.

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Speaking of charge, the battery system in the e-tron can be charged to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes using a fast-charging system.

The e-tron includes many aerodynamic features, including special 20-inch wheels and underbody panels, but one we won't see soon in the USA are the slim side cameras in place of conventional mirrors.

Amazon intends to deliver the required home charging kit to an e-tron owner's home and then arrange for a local electrician to come and hook it up. By July of next year, Electrify America will have about 500 charging station complete or under development. It did, however, estimate zero-to-60-mph performance of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 124 miles per hour.

Despite its electric drivetrain, in many other respects the e-tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV.

In Europe, the E-Tron won't have traditional side mirrors.

In the name of efficiency, the e-tron will operate in two-wheel drive under most driving conditions. Electric motors included in it is much more than performance. A brake-based torque vectoring system is also used to improve handling.

As with all electric vehicles, the battery charge is partially assisted by regenerative braking. The entry-level version is dubbed as Premium Plus and is priced from $74,800.

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