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The Audi e-tron Electric SUV is Here and What It Means for the Consumer

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author photo by Emma Loggins October 2018

Audi's first-ever electric vehicle debuted this month, and it is packed with power, technology and luxury. The Audi e-tron electric SUV could present a sincere threat to the Tesla Model X, but what does that actually mean for consumers? Here's what we know.

The midsize e-tron SUV seats five passengers, can tow up to 4,000 pounds and makes a compelling argument for those who are considering an all-electric car.

Here are a few reasons we think the e-tron will get consumers to go with an EV.

Audi is making a big push with electric

The e-tron is only the beginning for the German automaker, who is actually planning to debut three battery-electric cars by 2020. The bigger picture? Audi anticipates that 30% of its customer base in the U.S. will go electric by 2025.

Audi has partnered with Amazon for a turn-key in-home charging solution

 It may seem like everything is becoming slowly integrated with Amazon, and you can add the e-tron to that list, as this is the first collaboration between Amazon Home Services and an automaker, delivering a turn-key solution for in-home charging. This solution will allow for consumers to have a 240-volt charging system installed in their home through Amazon, which will allow for a recharge on the vehicle in about 9 hours. Amazon will be connecting buyers with local electricians to install the system, which should cost around $1,000.

Alexa is fully integrated, too

Amazon has a one other touch worth mentioning on the e-tron. Their virtual assistant, Alexa, is fully integrated into the MMI system, which means e-tron owners can access the same features and services as they can through their other Alexa-enabled devices. Whether it's checking the weather or the news, ordering groceries or streaming music, you can do it all from the comfort of the e-tron.

The e-tron will have fast-charging capability

With DC fast-charging ability at select high-speed public charging stations, Audi has said that the e-tron can be charged up to 80% in approximately 30 minutes.

We don't have official EPA numbers yet

How far will the e-tron's battery charge get you? The certification numbers won't be provided by the EPA until closer to the e-tron's launch in 2019, but Audi has revealed that the SUV has a range of 250 miles on the European test cycle.

You can go off-road in the e-tron

Unlike some of its competition, the e-tron is actually intended to go off-road with Drive Select settings offering Offroad and Allroad modes in addition to the Efficiency, the Comfort, the Dynamic and the customizable Individual mode.

The e-tron has mirrorless virtual side mirrors

There was a considerable amount of buzz in the months leading up to the e-tron's debut about the mirrorless virtual side mirror system. The SUV offers 7-inch OLED monitors, which are mounted inside the doors right above the door handles. These cameras are also connected to the rear, which means that you have different angles and views of parking spots, highways, street corners and more. On top of those benefits, they're also more aerodynamic, adding to the driving range of the car.

The e-tron is rather spacious

The e-tron interior offers generous space to the driver and the passengers. From legroom to headroom, the vehicle can seat five adults comfortably and offers storage capacity totally 28.5 cu ft. -- with an additional storage compartment beneath the front lid that stores the vehicle's toolkit and mobile-charging cable. The standard panoramic glass sunroof also helps brighten the interior and create the feeling of openness.

The e-tron delivers the perfect environment for sound

As you would expect with an electric car, the e-tron only emits a gentle hum from its electric motors. The body of the vehicle has special soundproofing, which helps reduce wind vibrations and means that your environment for listing to the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System couldn't be more perfect. It allows for music to be experienced as it was intended -- just how it was recorded.

The base e-tron will start at $74,800

The Premium Plus model will start at $74,800, with the Prestige model at $81,800, and the First Edition model at $86,700 (limited to only 999 U.S. units). That's about $5,000 more than the all-electric and equally new Jaguar I-PACE.

It may be difficult to get an e-tron

Audi has confirmed that U.S. dealers won't keep the electric SUV in inventory. Why? The goal is to reduce costs. With a $1,000 deposit, however, you can get on the reservation list. Borrowing a page from Telsa's playbook, Audi is going the custom order route with this model.

The Audi e-tron is expected to debut in U.S. showrooms in the second quarter of 2019, and Amazon's in-home charging solutions will be available in advance so that those purchasing the electric SUV will be ready to charge once their car arrives.

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The Audi e-tron Electric SUV is Here and What It Means for the Consumer - Autotrader