Company Car Today

Long term tests

Long Term Test: Audi e-tron

25 November 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 2021

We deliberately picked the shorter range version when we chose to run a Audi etron. The argument being, £10,000 extra is a lot to pay for 50 miles greater range taking it from an official 175 to 225 miles.

For almost all our journeys this has been the correct decision.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021Only one trip has seen us not take the e-tron, instead favouring our family diesel estate. And that was a holiday to see family in Northumberland.

While on-route charging is becoming easier by the day, driving 330 miles with all the family (including dogs) on board, plus a roofbox on top, means that we couldn’t do the run with our usual single stop for a driver change & loo stop.

The lack of destination charging was also a factor and would have realistically meant three 30-45 minute stops on the way.

However, I still maintain we picked the correct e-tron, because for the once or twice a year we go to Northumberland we could have hired a different car with the £10,000 saving and still been quids in.

TRistan Young

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency: 2.6miles/kWh

CO2: 0g/km

11 November 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 2021

Brake energy regeneration can divide opinion. Some drivers hate it and others love the one-pedal driving style and everything in between.

In the etron, Audi offers two options. Either zero regeneration under regular driving with the driver able to temporarily use two stages of regen’ via paddles behind the steering wheel, or an intelligent automated system that combines the satnav and the car’s radar sensors to work out when’s best to slow the car and recapture energy.

It’s the same system that’s in the latest cohort of plug-in Audis and I’ve written about, and liked, when we ran a Q5 PHEV. In the etron, I’d swear the software has been improved so it now works even better than before.

If you’re following another car downhill, the etron will automatically use regeneration to slow and stop you getting too close to the car in front. It also slows automatically for corners, junctions and roundabouts.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021If you’ve not used the system it has to be pointed out that this is not cruise control it doesn’t speed the car up after it’s done regenerating, but that’s just perfect. It means you don’t have to worry at all about what level of regen you should be using.

Having said that you can still override the system with the paddles if you want to, which I find useful particularly on steeper descents when you’re not following a car in front and you want to keep within the speed limit.

TRistan Young

Tester's notes

• Had a noticeable number of forward sensor warnings recently. I keep the car clean, but I still wonder if it’s just dirt blocking the car’s ‘view’ of the road. Despite the warnings, everything still seems to function properly.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency:

CO2: 0g/km

28 October 2021

Audi e-tron back seats LTT 2021

When you ‘own’ a car you rarely get in the back seats. At least that’s my excuse for not testing the rear of the Audi e-tron until now.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021Having now sat in the back of the all-electric Audi for a couple of journeys I can report there is more than enough room for a couple of tall adults in total comfort. There’s plenty of head and legroom and there’s a rather nice fold-down central arm rest with two cupholders built in. There’s also hidden storage area within the armrest.

My kids also appreciate the double USB-C sockets so they can keep their phones charged on any journey – assuming they remembered their charging cables.

TRistan Young

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency: 2.6kwh

CO2: 0g/km

13 October 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 2021

Most cars above a certain price point have driving modes that are selectable. Sometimes these just Audi e-tron LTT 2021alter the steering weight and the sensitivity of the accelerator pedal. Others, such as the Audi e-tron allow for the adjustment of the suspension too, so that you can have a firmer, flatter ride for a sportier character or a softer, more comfortable ride.

Standard on the S-line trim and above – which our e-tron is – is adaptive sport air suspension and it’s something I’ve used far more than any other car I’ve run.

Normally, I tend to play around with the modes for the first couple of days and then leave it in a single mode and just get on with life. Not so for the e-tron.

Usually I’m in Comfort, because, it really is… comfortable. On longer motorway runs where I need more range I use Eco. However, more and more frequently I’ve been lured into using ‘dynamic’.

Dynamic mode lowers the ride height, stiffens the suspension and sharpens the throttle. And it’s addictive in an electric car. Comfort mode isn’t slow at all, but dynamic means you can have some fun on a B-road or nip into gaps at roundabouts that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

There’s also allroad and offroad modes, but living in Surrey and mostly operating as a dad-taxi or on work journeys there’s not been the chance to test these. If an opportunity crops up, I’ll report back.

TRistan Young

Tester's notes

• Driving mode buttons are of the touch-sensitive variety and fiddly to operate. And they’re one of the few functions that can’t be operated via voice command.

• Not sure why but the e-tron has recently ‘forgotten’ the ‘home’ destination in satnav. Update perhaps?

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency: 2.6kwh

CO2: 0g/km

30 September 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 2021

The more I drive the Audi e-tron the more I realise the barriers to EV ownerships aren’t car related they’re charging network related.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021I’ve done the vast majority of charging at home on a 7kW socket. No problem there. I’ve even done longer journeys where I’ve been able to charge quickly and fairly conveniently [see 8 Sept report].

However, I’ve recently done another long, 200 miles each way, journey and had a bit of a charging nightmare due to non-working motorway service area charge points.

However, it was the Audi that saved the day. Having managed to get just enough charge to reach my destination – a residential location – for the weekend I was able to use the extra charging cable Audi supplies with a three-pin plug.

It may not be a quick charge, but if you’re staying with friends and they don’t mind donating their electricity you can still ‘fill up’. What’s more, the cable’s long so you don’t have to worry about using an extension cable (which isn’t recommended, but I’ve seen others do).

TRistan Young

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency: 2.6miles/kWh

CO2: 0g/km

16 September 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 2021Connectivity 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.Audi e-tron LTT 2021

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.

TRistan Young

Tester's notes

* Having now driven a few more longer journeys, I’ve discovered the ‘fuel light’ warning to recharge the e-tron comes on when there’s 30 miles range left.

* It may be counter intuitive, but the Audi seems to be at its most efficient on the motorway. Efficiency rises from the average 2.6 miles per kWh to around 2.8.

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency: 2.6miles/kWh

CO2: 0g/km

8 September 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 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.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021As 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.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021Charging 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.

TRistan Young

Tester's notes

• The myAudi connected app has the habit of overestimating charging point speeds. Several occasions it’s claimed a charge point’s max speed is 100kW or more when it’s only a 50kW point.

• Having all-round parking cameras is very handy when trying to park as close as possible to a charge point.

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency: 2.6 miles/kWh

CO2: 0g/km

24 August 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 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.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021I 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.

TRistan Young

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency:

CO2: 0g/km

9 August 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 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).

Audi e-tron LTT 2021What’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.

Tristan Young

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency:

CO2: 0g/km

26 July 2021

Audi e-tron LTT 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.

Audi e-tron LTT 2021We’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.

Tristan Young

Tester's notes

Audi e-tron LTT 2021* The e-tron has a charge point on both sides of the car which is super useful. However, only the driver’s side has the CCS connection for faster DC-charging away from home.

* Another great idea is that the e-tron is supplied with a really long home charging cable. You can reverse into your drive and still connect to the front-wing located charge ports.

The stats

Audi e-tron quattro S line 50

P11D: £68,075

Official efficiency: Range = 177 miles 2.3miles/kWh

Our efficiency: 2.4 miles/kWh

CO2: 0g/km