Audi announces e-tron SUV, its first production ready fully-electric vehicle

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"When you tell an engineer that you want an electric auto with lots of range, they don't immediately jump to SUV as their first choice for obvious reasons of physics", Marc Lichte, Audi's head of design, told reporters at an event before the reveal. Audi already offers a number of hybrid and plug-in models but it is planning to now introduce an array of all-electric offerings, joining such high-line competitors as Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

And it's meant to be totally ... Filip Brabec, Audi VP of product management, said that the company did not want to create a vehicle that is edgy and quirky, Mashable reported.

Tesla CEO Musk has long said he welcomes the arrival of more electric vehicles because it will grow the EV market and ultimately spur more people to stop driving gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. "We wanted to create, for lack of a better term, a very normal auto".

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The Audi e-tron offers the spaciousness and comfort of one of the brand's typical full-size models. The image is displayed on each side of the interior, and while they're more aerodynamic and can cut noise, they also pose other potential issues and are not yet allowed by US regulators.

Audi will be bringing in the e-Tron to the Indian market by the end of next year.

The decision to go with an SUV, rather than a sedan, however, reflects the rapid shift in the overall automotive market, traditional sport-utility vehicles and crossovers now accounting for more than half of all US new vehicle sales, even as four and two-door models continue losing momentum. A "Prestige" version with heads-up display, driver assist features, massage seats, and more luxury add-ons is $81,800. Prices will start at about $75,000 or $86,700 for well-equipped "First Edition" models.

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The E-Tron looks, quite clearly, like an Audi SUV. Surprisingly, Audi hasn't released horsepower and torque figures but confirmed that the SUV accelerates from 0-60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in 5.5 seconds and will go up to 200 km/h of top speed. The batteries are beneath the vehicle cabin and each battery stores 95 kWh of energy. Nevertheless, reports suggest that it could be around 250 miles. An American range hasn't been determined yet. It recaptures energy to charge the battery as it is coasting as well as during braking, with the driver able to select the amount of energy recovery via paddles on the steering wheel.

The e-tron's battery can be charged up to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes, using publicly available 150 kWh DC fast-chargers.

As to be expected, Audi has leveraged some of the design language seen in its latest e-tron concept vehicles.

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In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Amazon has signed on with Audi and will offer e-tron buyers home charging systems. That's because it's delivering a fully electrified sport-utility vehicle in Q2 2019. Its world premiere came on the same day that it would be making 27 electric vehicles by 2022.

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