A Scarce Audi Lands Extra Range, Lower Price

a scarce audi lands extra range lower price

Have you seen an Audi E-Tron (officially, “e-tron”) on the street? This writer hasn’t. Yet the electric Audi crossover has been on offer for a little over a year now, slowly paving the way for an all-electric future.

Available to U.S. customers through special order and to dealers who just wish to keep one around, the E-Tron arrived in early 2019 with 204 miles of EPA-rated range. It’s now back after skipping a model year, with two improvements aimed at broader consumer appeal, if not adoption.

For starters, the ’21 E-Tron can go further on a tank of electrons. Range is now claimed at 222, though the EPA will have the final say on that. It seems the vehicle can now use 3 kWh more of its 95 kWh battery’s available charge, eking out a greater driving distance.

Another range-boosting feature is the model’s newfound ability to shut down the front motor in regular driving scenarios, leaving the rear motor/axle to provide all the power. The front motor will come online when acceleration is needed, or when slippage is detected with the rear wheels. Can’t have an all-wheel drive vehicle copping out when it’s needed most.

For these improvements, Audi will ask less dough, which could be enough to get some green types interested. The model’s price sees a $8,800 haircut for ’21, stickering for $66,995 to start.

Joining the E-Tron this year is a new, coupe-ified Sportback variant. That model’s range is said to be 218 miles. If spending money’s your thing and class-leading range isn’t, you’ll be pleased to know that Premium Plus trims (of either model) carry a recharging port on both sides of the vehicle.

With Audi’s home market getting first dibs on the vehicle, sales in the U.S. didn’t set any charts aflame. The manufacturer knew this would be a niche model in that market, so it didn’t compel dealers to carry stock they knew would be hard to sell. If they wanted it, it was available, however, and certainly the same sentiment went for consumers looking to order though their local Audi retailer.

In 2019, Audi sold 5,369 E-Trons, with the first half of 2020 showing 2,872 sales. Volume took a dive in the second quarter of the year as the pandemic hit home, leading to a 37-percent volume loss for the brand’s sole electric model. The Sportback should see deliveries start by the end of summer.

[Images: Audi AG]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 06, 2020

    I'm excited about the Sportback, and I have started planning my acquisition process: Step 1: Find shorter friends and family.

  • Tstag Tstag on Aug 07, 2020

    Weigh it up. The Jaguar I Pace is better than the Etron on range and cheaper than the Tesla Model X. It has an interior that has buttons and proper wing mirrors. It’s built in a proper car factory and not in a tent. It scores higher on reliability than Tesla and Jaguar as a brand is now doing about as well/ badly as Audi on reliability. For me the I Pace would be my go to car in this sector. Second would be the Audi and third the Tesla. Why Tesla last? I like their models but the way they are screwed together leaves a lot to be desired. Too much even for a guy who loves old British sports cars.....

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?