Is Audi's electric SUV the first real challenge to Tesla's Model X?

Mae Love
September 20, 2018

While bears have warned on Tesla Inc.'s (TSLA) vulnerability to new entrants in the electric vehicle (EV) market, one of Musk's biggest skeptics on the Street says Audi's new e-Tron SUV "underscores" the difficulty in catching up to the Palo Alto, Calif. -based industry pioneer.

Audi has also partnered with Electrify America, which plans to have 500 fast-charging sites around the U.S.by July 2019, many outside of retail spots like Walmart or Target. It is among a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, along with other European premium brands consisting Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.

Future owners of the 2019 Audi e-tron can be extra green with a new partnership between the automaker and Arcadia Power. It gives the vehicle a range that is suitable for driving long distances.

The SUV was unveiled here because the E-Tron was designed with the US market especially on the mind, Audi executives said.

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.

Buyers will be able to purchase a home charging system and have it installed by Amazon Home Services. Audi E-Tron SUV uses advanced torque vectoring along with innovative traction control system that helps in regulating wheel slip by milliseconds.

The German brand says its new electric SUV is powered by two electric motors that are "locally CO2-neutral and virtually silent".

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Home charging systems will be available through a collaboration with Amazon Home Service. The motors also supplement the braking by the friction brakes, and Audi estimates that the e-tron motors will provide the deceleration in 90 percent of braking situations.

The e-tron will feature a high-tech interior and, in Europe, will replace conventional sideview mirrors with cameras, the images displayed on 5-inch monitors mounted at each side of the windshield.

The e-tron ticks all of the right boxes for a next-generation, all-electric luxury SUV.

Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000, depending on the home's electrical system.

But when comparing one standard-equipped, $86,700 "Edition One" e-tron to a top-shelf, standard-equipped Model X P100D, which starts at $140,000 - both of which are priced before federal and state tax incentives - the difference is clear.

Last year, Tesla sold 94 percent of the luxury electric vehicles in the USA, according to LMC Automotive.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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