16 September 2021
Connectivity is just about essential in any electric car. Knowing from your mobile phone how much charge, or range, your car has is incredibly useful to allow for successful journey planning.
The connectivity also means car makers can provide much more functionality and luxuries that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
In the Audi e-tron’s case, the MyAudi app not only provides range and battery percentage, but you can see all the trip computer data, so you know how efficient you’ve been and how much each electric mile costs you.
The app also allows users to schedule charging, should you use off-peak electricity. And there’s a pre-set option for the climate control, meaning you can either heat the car in winter or cool it in summer before you set off.
Route planning is also useful – especially as you can then send a destination direct to the car’s satnav meaning you don’t have to type it into the car.
The only feature that’s a little off, is the data supplied to the charge point locator. It has every charge point listed, but for almost every charge point it overestimates the charge speed – usually by a factor of 2. It’s not usually an issue, but it does occasionally lead to disappointment with the otherwise excellent app.
8 September 2021
Having had a meeting in Crewe recently I’ve now had the chance, and need, to test the Audi e-tron on longer journeys and the public charging network.
As a place to be on a long journey, the e-tron’s cabin is superb. The seats and ride are comfortable, there’s little wind or tyre noise on the motorway and obviously there’s no engine noise to intrude.
The infotainment system is easy to use and connects via Apple Carplay to your phone so all your favourite music and podcasts are where you want them. The sound quality of the Bose system is also top notch.
Being my first longer journey I was cautious about range so went easy on the accelerator and activated ‘eco’ mode. The result was 2.9 miles per kWh one way and 3.0 on the way back.
If you’re into sums, that means the 64.7kWh useable battery capacity should be good for at least 187 miles – not bad against the official 175 miles.
Charging on route was no problem for the Audi either. The max charge speed is 120kW using the CCS connection on the driver’s side (there’s a another Type 2 slot on the passenger side). So you have to be a bit careful about how and where you park as charge point cables aren’t that long.
I can’t decide if this is an issue for car manufacturers or charge point companies. If the charge point cable was longer it wouldn’t be an issue, but equally, if Audi put the charge port on the front or back (rather than side, just aft of the front wheel) then the cable length wouldn’t be an issue either.
Now that the first long journey’s out of the way and I know the real-world range, much of my range-anxiety is now gone and I’m now planning more trips further afield.
24 August 2021
Now we’re a couple of months into our time with the Audi e-tron 50 and we’ve covered well over 1000 miles it’s time to do the sums to find out how efficient the EV is and how much it’s costing to run.
I pay 14.5p per kWh for home charging, so the per-mile fuel cost at 2.6 miles per kWh for the e-tron is 5.6p. And for the vast majority of my miles that’s the cost. However, I have used on-route charging a couple of times at a cost of 39p per kWh which would make the per-mile cost 15p.
These figures give a neat illustration of why the HMRC advisory fuel rate, at 4p per mile, need updating. The more annoying thing here is that so far the longer journeys with higher-cost charging are business miles.
As a comparison, at the current fuel price of 133p per litre, a diesel car would cost 15p a mile if it was doing 40mpg.
Best try to stick to home charging.
9 August 2021
One of the big advantages of picking a full EV over a plug-in hybrid EV is the amount of interior space. Where a PHEV has usually had batteries and a motor added to an existing petrol car where the only space these things can go is in the boot, a proper EV can be packaged with thought. And this is the case with the Audi etron.
Not only do you get a boot that’s huge – it’s 660 litres and big enough for a double dog cage – and despite being battery powered, there’s still a large hidden storage compartment under the boot floor (assuming you’re not carrying a dog cage).
What’s more, there’s room under the bonnet for some dedicated charge cable storage. Which has the double impact of stopping the cables from taking up room in the boot, but it means they’re not sliding round the boot or getting it wet and grubby.
26 July 2021
Plug-in hybrids are the gateway to fully electric cars according to industry experts, so after several PHEVs it’s time to run a fully-electric car. In this case the Audi e-tron.
We’re running the ‘50’ version in S-line trim. To put this in context, the 50 is the lower range (and slightly less powerful) model compared to the full-fat 55. While you lose about 80 miles in range on the official figures, the 50 also costs about £10,000 less.
It’s this reason, coupled to the fact that almost all our journeys are well within the official range of 177 miles and any longer journey would likely be outside the official range of the 55, that we chose the e-tron 50.
However, not wanting to miss-out on equipment we ‘invested’ some of those savings on range, in better equipment and selected the S-line trim and a few choice options (more about those in a future report).
Getting a few more miles on the e-tron will give a better idea for the car’s efficiency and real-world range, but on local journeys we’re achieving 2.3 miles per kWh which with a usable battery capacity of 64kW means a range of 147 miles. Nothing special, but then in the past 12 months I don’t think I’ve done a journey of more than 100 miles.
Over the next six months, though, now that the biggest lockdowns are over, we should be going further afield and we’ll find out more about what the Audi e-tron is like to live with.