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Will Audi e-tron Quattro be serious competition?

Will Audi e-tron Quattro be serious competition?

As most of you know Audi has announced a new all electric SUV to be available next year (2018). They have even started taking reservations in Norway. From the various reports on internet i gather that the exterior will look fairly similar to the current Q5 and Q7, and size will be in between them, but closer to the Q5. This makes it about the same height as the MX, but shorter and narrower. And no FWD or fancy windshield. The 'concept car' pictures of the interior make it look very futuristic and not like the current Q5 or Q7. More like the MX. Supposed to have range of 300 miles and 90 or 95kwh battery.

Of course, we need to wait for info on the final production car to see exactly how it compares. Hopefully, we will have that info sometime in the next six months.

Aside from the obvious question about price, i am also curious if there will be a 'frunk' or if there will be a lot of 'stuff' where the frunk should be. Also wondering if they will announce more about charging infrastructure then. As you know VW's dieselgate settlement requires them to set up infrastructure and they have announced a 4 year plan. I am hoping Audi/VW might announce an accelleration of that in the next six months.

Do any of you have any insights on these questions, or other significant insights about this new vehicle?

MXFan | 20 mai 2017

No, not competition. First, it isn't in production and details are still sketchy. Second, the competition is really going to be ICE vs EV in the next few years. (Thanks to Elon Musk for getting car makers to think seriously about and build more EVs). Third, it isn't a Tesla. :)

carlk | 20 mai 2017

Agree with MXFan the competition will be between EV and ICE. Now if you think about it Audi still generates most of its revenue and profit from selling ICE cars. The question to ask is how Audi is going to compete with itself. Which side it wants to win and which side it could afford to lose? It can't have both to win because that will only mean to lose the EV game to Tesla.

tommyalexandersb | 20 mai 2017

Tesla has the sexy factor and Superchargers. I don't think any company can be real competition without a fast long distance charging solution that's comparable to Tesla's.

Model_D | 21 mai 2017

Until Audi builds a network of 200 mph or faster chargers, it is just going to be a small part of EV sales.

72echo | 21 mai 2017

The CEO of Toyota recently commented "we make cars and Tesla makes cars"... they make connected cars. I'm unaware of anyone making connected cars. Others will take their existing ICE cars remove the ICE and make it electric so you'll have the same ICE car without an engine nothing else will be different. Examples are the Nissan Leaf and the Bolt.

TeslaTap.com | 21 mai 2017

Consider the dealers - so far franchise dealers seem to ignore or downright interfere with a manufacturer's EV sales. The dealers make most of their revenue from service revenue, so they really prefer to sell you the least reliable car on the lot or ones with endless maintenance issues (i.e. any ICE car). Since they sell a lot of ICE cars, the sales people are usually very poorly trained or informed on any EV offerings, further slowing sales. Manufacturers like Audi have very little control over these dealers (in the USA).

For this and many other reasons, even if the e-Tron was feature and style identical to the Tesla Model X, and priced lower, I'd expect poor sales.

carlk | 21 mai 2017

"For this and many other reasons, even if the e-Tron was feature and style identical to the Tesla Model X, and priced lower, I'd expect poor sales."

But even if e-Tron could be like that it will be better and cheaper than equivalent ICE Q5. Wanna guess which one will have poor sales and if Audi would allow that to happen?

Anzo | 21 mai 2017

I hope more manufacturers get serious about EV's that can rival a Tesla. That will in turn put pressure on Tesla to innovate, resulting in a better Tesla. :)

David N | 21 mai 2017

Will Audi e-tron Quattro be serious competition?

No

Wilber | 21 mai 2017

HI All:

Thanks for your replies. I am familiar with all the points you make. I was just wondering if any of you:

1. thinks VW/Audi is finally getting serious about selling EVs and/or charging infrastructure.
2. thought there were features of the Audi e-tron Quattro that will be an advantage over the MX.

I gather from your answers that your are NOT optimistic that Audi/VW will seriously produce EVs or support with charging anytime soon.

The point i am making is that SOMEDAY just ONE traditional automaker is going to be the first to get real serious and make lots of EVs and really try to sell them and make sure charging infrastructure is in place. That someday could be next year, 3 years from now, 5 years, or longer? I sure hope it is one or two years - in order to facilitate the move to EVs.

Based on what i have read on Electrek and Cleantechnica it seems VW/Audi is a good candidate to be first. but who knows! Volvo? BMW?

Bagzzz | 22 mai 2017

I think that if Audi made an EV with an actual luxury interior, they would be formidable. Tesla proved that dealers are not needed and people do their research on the internet. If the cars are available with similar motor characteristics and the handling and interior of the Audi S series, they would get sold regardless of what the dealers push.

LimawanS85 | 1 juin 2017

It's not the car. its the charging infrastructure

burdogg | 1 juin 2017

I agree, it is the charging infrastructure right now - at least for those that have any need to travel - even if it is just once a year. We have our S, but we got an X to take on family trips - and we would NOT have bought it had there not been an infrastructure to charge it along for those trips. Family lives 500+ miles away, and no, flying is not an option.

CriticalFan | 26 juin 2017

The Audi Q7 e-Tron will definitely be a strong competitor to the Model X, perhaps even be more desirable in many ways.
The difference of course will be the lack of a Supercharger network, which will make the Audi stay local.

Sleepydoc1 | 26 juin 2017

I highly doubt a car that is about the same size as the X will truly get 300 miles on a 90KwH battery with today's technology and regular driving. Mine doesn't come anywhere close to that ideal.

teethdood | 26 juin 2017

Charging infrastructure is easy to build when you have dealerships close by freeway exits. I'm sure Audi dealerships can spare a few parking spots for charging. Other car manufacturers can all do the same, quickly. I really don't think Tesla has that much of an advantage.

SolidWhite60DX | 26 juin 2017

Why do people even like Audis? I've owned a couple (my wife likes them) and while the engine was OK (I only had the 2.0T -- the most popular Audi engine) the user interface and entertainment system was ridiculously bad, with super deep menus that were unfriendly to navigate. I can't understand the claim that Audi has good ergonomics. I've had a couple of BMWs as well and they had much better user interfaces: austere, perhaps, but definitely functional. Of course neither is match for my Tesla with its 17' screen, Google Maps, amazing rear view camera and slacker.

speyerj | 26 juin 2017

@teethdood
It's not that easy to install high amperage charging at every dealership, nor are there dealerships everywhere where you want to drive.

On the first point, there needs to be sufficient utility infrastructure to support the high amperage charging. Sure, every dealership can probably install a few 40A chargers, but that's not the same as high amperage DC charging and 40-60A is utterly useless for long distance travel.. Tesla has run into this several times where their preferred SC location didn't have appropriate access to the utility hookups necessary, so the SC ultimately had to be moved. An example of this is St Regis vs Superior, MT. Tesla wanted to build a SC in St Regis as it's the natural transition point for traffic to head north to Glacier National Park. But there were problems with utility access there so the SC had to be located in Superior, a useless 20 some miles further east where there are no other freeway intersections...drivers commonly come from Spokane, pass St Regis, charge in Superior, then backtrack to St Regis and turn north for Glacier. If there's no ability to install high amperage charging, then you're just out of luck in a given location it seems.

On the second point, there are certainly areas of the country that don't have an Audi (or Mercedes, or BMW, etc) dealership for over a hundred miles. I've driven through them! But if people need to drive through there, you have to have fast charging. That's not to say that BMW et al can't do it, but they do need to if they're going to build a good charging network. For example, there's not a single BMW dealership between Seattle and Spokane via the I-90 corridor. There are no other BMW branded dealerships in Washington that my quick search can find on the east-west corridor which means the only east-west travel in Washington BMW could currently support with their dealerships is from Seattle to Spokane, and there's no way the e-tron will have the range to make that drive with Snoqualmie pass in the way.

Frankly, the silly part is that Tesla has allowed other manufacturers to use the SC network if they are willing to pay into it and are willing to build cars that can accept SC voltages. They've released the necessary patents as well. But the other car manufacturers are too intent on competing with Tesla and so aren't even willing to utilize that extensive network, they'd rather try and push their own standard and build the whole dang thing from the ground up.

teethdood | 27 juin 2017

@speyerj very informative post. Thank you.

These are all assumptions in my part, but my guess is that the big car dealerships (and by extension the big manufacturers) carry a lot of weight with the local city government. After all, they pay property taxes and employ local sales/service people. A few meetings/dinners with the city planning commissions and my bet is they get what they need. Tesla does not have a lot of weight, as illustrated by the fact that Tesla is still not allowed to have a sales presence in many states. That's why Tesla ran into utility infrastructure issues that you pointed out.

As to the second part of your post, assuming car dealerships are able to get the utilities to run high amperage lines for them, effectively they cut Tesla's existing charging advantage by at least half. They just need to fill in for the longer distances. If Tesla, its finances still in the red, is able to do this, I don't think the big manufacturers would have much trouble financing their own network.

I think Tesla opened up their patents because they wanted to split the cost of the build out, to make the overall network grow faster with standardization, and be the leader of the pack in EV technology. The big manufacturers don't want to be upended by a newcomer, so they are not and will not follow Tesla's charging standard. If I'm GM, I don't want my customers to charge at Tesla-branded charging stations. It's going to be like the various incompatible phone charging ports all over again.

johnse | 27 juin 2017

From a financial standpoint, yes, companies like Audi or GM could build out a charging network.

They seem to be perfectly happy to let third parties do that...and the third parties don't have the income stream to build extensively or rapidly. While CCS has the specs to match or beat (current) Superchargers, almost none come close.

Furthermore, the manufacturers cannot mandate that dealerships install chargers. Most lots I've seen are usually overflowing and the parts of the lot where chargers would have convenient 24 hour access are also the prime spots to show off their inventory.

Couple this with the reticence of dealers to sell cars that have lower expected maintenance income and for which they need to dedicate prime real estate, and dealerships don't have a lot of incentive.

If they ever get serious, they could start to catch up. But the reason they will get serious is because Tesla is eating their lunch. Essentially neither side will be cost constrained on building chargers. Tesla has a huge lead that will not go away quickly, if ever.

speyerj | 27 juin 2017

@teethdood
I guess I'm just crazy pro-consumer. If I was GM, I would want my customers to have the best experience possible and be able to charge quickly and frequently. Personally, I would want that more than selling them a GM branded charger. They don't have GM branded gas stations that they insist on GM customers filling at. They don't have any problem with their owners charging slowly at ChargePoint, Blink, SemaConnect, GreenLots, etc...so the idea that they have some sort of hangup on customers charging only at "their" stations doesn't hold water. Frankly, if I was a Leaf or Volt owner, I'd be pissed at them for not getting on board and adopting what is, unequivocally, the largest and most efficient fast charging standard in the world AT THIS TIME. AT THIS TIME, I can drive round trip quickly from Seattle to Portland, or Seattle to Spokane, or Seattle to Vancouver...a Chevy Bolt driver? Not unless they want to spend hours and hours and hours charging. Obviously both the Bolt and the Tesla spend more time refilling than an ICE, but the Tesla charges far faster than the Bolt.

Of course Tesla would like other to contribute to the cost of build out. That's not a secret since Elon Musk said that when he opened up the patents. He said others were welcome to use the technology and to use the SC network as long as they contributed financially to the network upkeep and buildout. That just makes sense, doesn't it? It's not like GM is offering to build cars for Subaru in their factories for free is it? Tesla has stated that their mission, or one of them, is to accelerate the adoption of EV technology, so it's completely in character of them to offer to share the SC network with others as long as those folks are also contributing to the adoption of that technology.

As for the influence that GM or any of the others hold on local towns, the dealership associations may and they may not. In, for example, St Regis...a town of probably <1000 people, there's no car dealership and not even a supermarket. I'm not sure how much that town cares what GM, Tesla, BMW, or any of them want them to do. What I think the issue mainly was that the amount of tear up that Tesla would have had to do to access high amperage feeds wasn't worth it for the town from their prospective. Maybe they would have felt differently if BMW had come in and suggested it. But the main attraction in St Regis is the Living Trout Museum at the St Regis Travel Center...I'm not sure BMW has much sway in a town like that.

TeslaTap.com | 27 juin 2017

@Wil;ber - "Supposed to have range of 300 miles and 90 or 95kwh battery.".

Every european car maker makes these crazy claims and leaves out that the milage is based on the wildly inflated European standards (if there is any reality to the number). When you see any range number without EPA or "EPA estimate", assume the EPA number is going to be about 70% of the fake number. That means 300 miles is closer to 210 miles EPA, which makes the Audi significantly worse than the Tesla for range.

Sleepydoc1 | 27 juin 2017

Thanks TT. That is about right on target.

georgehawley.fl.us | 28 juin 2017

I agree with the lower range estimate above. I think the Audi Q5 has a drag coefficient in the .33-.35 area. If cross-section is around the same as the X, there's no way it will have 300 miles EPA-rated range with 90-95 kWh pack.

Maybe 15% less than the X if the same weight--215 miles or so.

FISHEV | 4 janvier 2020

More in addition to than competition. Like the Taycan, e-Tron owners are finding that the range was understated and see about 240 miles of actual range

"December brings relatively good results for Audi e-tron sales in the U.S. as the first all-electric Audi noted 746 sales, which the second-best monthly result so far."

Compared to strong overall Audi sales of 25,850 cars (up 14% year-over-year), the e-tron took 2.9% share.

https://insideevs.com/news/391122/december-2019-audi-e-tron-sales-us/

Bighorn | 4 janvier 2020

Most e-Tron owners seem to struggle to get 200 miles--EPA was not overstated, much as some would have you believe

FISHEV | 4 janvier 2020

The reason Audi owners are seeing the 240 range vs. the rated 204 is due to oversizing the battery.

“Audi has a different approach to how it treats its battery pack, though, and it’s part-and-parcel to making the state of charge predictable. It only uses 88 percent (83.6 kwh) of the 95-kwh total cell capacity in its pack, in the interest of a long life, more consistent range performance, and better thermal management.“

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1123243_2019-audi-e-tron-road-trip-...

The Porsche Taycan’s are seeing the same thing for the same reason.

TeslaTap.com | 4 janvier 2020

@FISHEV - that makes zero sense. If you restrict the amount of the battery is available, you get less range. I have no big problems with the marketing reasons they explain, but even if they have 95-83.6 = 11.4 kW that is unavailable, that 11.4 kW is doing nothing for range, other than costing you a weight disadvantage. It doesn't magically get you 240 miles of range. Hypermiling and other techniques can let you travel further, but nothing changes the EPA range of 204 miles.

To get more range, Audi will need a more efficient car, open up some of that reserve, or provide a larger battery. So far I've not heard any of that happening.