Monday March 18, 2019
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Audi Launches A New Electric Car Ahead Tesla

The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle.

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Audi
Audi unveils its first production all-electric vehicle, the e-tron sport utility vehicle, at an event in Richmond, Calif. VOA

German luxury car brand Audi this week staged the global launch of a new electric sport utility vehicle on the home turf of rival Tesla, and highlighted a deal with Amazon.com Inc. to make recharging its forthcoming e-tron models easier.

The Audi e-tron midsize SUV will be offered in the United States next year at a starting price of $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit. It is one of a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, as well as other European premium brands including Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.

All aim to expand the market for premium electric vehicles and also to grab a share of that market from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla, which has had the niche largely to itself.

“I want Audi to be the No. 1 electric vehicle seller in America over the long term,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Audi
Audi. Pixabay

Audi dealers, particularly those from California, where Tesla has made significant inroads, cheered the e-tron at Monday night’s crowded event.

Analysts on Tuesday expressed concern that the vehicle’s driving range may not measure up to that of the Tesla Model X. Audi officials said they do not have official range estimates for the e-tron SUV under U.S. testing procedures. They said the vehicle should achieve a range under less rigorous European testing standards of roughly 250 miles or 400 kilometers.

Keogh told attendees at Monday’s event that an e-tron had made a 175-mile journey over the mountains east of San Francisco with range to spare. He also emphasized that the e-tron is designed to recharge more rapidly than rival electric vehicles.

UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said in a note on Tuesday that the e-tron “fails to set new benchmarks in the premium EV segment, even though we consider it better than the Mercedes EQC.” The EQC is a rival electric SUV the Daimler AG brand plans to launch in 2020.

Audi
A Telsa car recharges at a Tesla charging station in Charlotte, N.C.. VOA

The e-tron’s 95 kWh battery has less capacity than the 100 kWh battery used in the Tesla Model X 100D model, but more than the base Model X 75D.

The Model X 100D is rated at 295 miles (475 km) of range by the U.S. government.

Recharging

Audi and Volkswagen are using the U.S. launch of the e-tron SUV in mid-2019 to take aim at one obstacle to expanding electric vehicle sales: the lack of convenient ways to recharge their batteries.

Audi will partner with online retailer Amazon to sell and install home electric vehicle charging systems to buyers of the e-tron, the companies said on Monday. Amazon will deliver the hardware and hire electricians to install them through its Amazon Home Services operation.

Amazon’s partnership with Audi marks the first time the online retailer has struck such a deal with an automaker, and signals a new front in Amazon’s drive to expand its reach into consumers’ homes beyond the presence of its Alexa smart speakers in living rooms and kitchens.

Audi
Tesla misses on Model 3 car production target: Report. Pixabay

“We see charging installation as a very important business,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, told Reuters at Audi’s launch event in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Center.

Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000, depending on the home’s electrical system.

Tesla offers wall connectors for home charging at a $500 list price, and will arrange for installation, according to the company.

At the same time, Electrify America, a company funded by Volkswagen as part of its settlement of U.S. diesel emission cheating litigation, plans to launch next year the next round of installations of public charging stations, Electrify America executives told Reuters.

Tesla has developed its own network of Supercharger charging stations with more than 11,000 chargers in North America.

Electrify America plans to have 2,000 chargers installed by mid-June next year. Those will be open to any vehicle, and customers can swipe a credit card to recharge.

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Audi of America President Scott Keogh introduces the German luxury brand’s first all-electric production vehicle, the e-tron sport utility vehicle, at an event in Richmond, Calif.. VOA

“We want to work with all” automotive brands, said Giovanni Palazzo, Electrify America’s chief executive.

Lifting the curtain

Audi has been heralding the launch of the e-tron SUV for some time, but until Monday it had not shared many details of the vehicle.

The e-tron is electric, and has two electric motors — one in the front and one in the rear — driving all four wheels. The Hungarian factory building motors for the e-tron will start with a production pace equivalent to 200 vehicles a day, Audi officials said.

In Europe, the vehicle will use cameras instead of conventional mirrors to give drivers a view to the rear. That feature is still not approved by U.S. regulators.

Also Read: Tesla’s Musk Sued For Defamation

However, in many other respects the e-tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV. It offers seating for five, and its length and wheelbase position it in the center of the market for midsize, five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5. The e-tron is 5 inches (13 cm) shorter than the Tesla Model X, and it has conventional doors. The Model X uses vertically opening “falcon wing” doors.

The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle, but the system will be designed so that drivers must keep hands on the wheel. (VOA)

 

Next Story

Would Elon Musk Be Able to Drive Tesla Cars in India?

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla headquarters at Palo Alto, California and met Musk who gave Modi a tour of the company's electric car plant

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Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has once again vouched to make India his next big market but the question lingers: Will the electric car ever run on desi roads?

Breaking his silence over India after 10 months, Musk tweeted late Friday that he would love to be in India in 2019 or next year.

“Would love to be there this year. If not, definitely next! India,” Musk tweeted to a user.

His tweet came after Musk earlier blamed the Indian government’s restrictive policies for giving up on his India dreams.

Musk also blamed the FDI norms for the delay in the electric car maker’s entry into the Indian market.

Earlier this year, Tesla’s Indian-origin Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja announced his retirement from the firm, thus bringing Musk’s India dream to a halt again.

Electric car problems
Jeff Solie plugs in his electric car Tesla sedan at his home, in New Berlin, Wis., July 13, 2017. Electric cars are seeing growing support around the world. But there’s a problem: There aren’t enough places to plug those cars in. VOA

Musk wanted to drive Tesla in India in 2017 and Ahuja, who worked out of Tesla’s San Carlos headquarters, quit the company in 2015 only to rejoin in 2017.

In May last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he would still love to roll out Tesla electric cars in India but the tough government regulations have forced him to apply the brakes on his plans.

“Would love to be in India. Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately,” Musk tweeted in response to a Twitter user who wrote “No Tesla in India” on his Twitter handle.

Also Read- How to Pay your Credit Card Bill Conveniently

“Deepak Ahuja, our CFO, is from India.Tesla will be there as soon as he believes we should,” added Musk, also the SpaceX founder.

Tesla was expected to enter India with the Model 3 that sells for nearly $35,000.

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla headquarters at Palo Alto, California and met Musk who gave Modi a tour of the company’s electric car plant. (IANS)