Another motor show, another Audi e-tron. They've been churning them out recently – not just the e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback, but the PB18 e-tron supercar and the self-driving Aicon. The message from Audi is clear – it's going in hard on electric and getting in there before rivals. Well, except Tesla. Saturating the automotive airwaves with product means BMW and Mercedes have to work hard to make themselves heard.
The chatter is not going to subside anytime soon. Between now and 2025 Audi will add 12 all-electric cars, giving it across-the-board presence in a diverse range of shapes and sizes. Last year Audi sold over 1.8 million cars. In seven years time it reckons a third, some 600,000, will be electric. If that's the case we're in for a turnaround of some magnitude.
What we have not seen yet is an affordable one. The e-tron GT does nothing to change that. It's a concept at the moment, but will arrive in production form at the end of 2020, joining the e-tron SUV (early next year) and e-tron Sportback crossover (coming late next year).
It's been "developed in close collaboration with Porsche," says Audi. We'd go further. It's basically a Taycan, the car formerly known as Mission E. Very similar size, ethos and power. Visually they're not that far apart either. Expect the Porsche to be slightly faster / lower / sportier.
The e-tron GT uses "more than" 90kWh battery pack that fills the space between the axles. There is a front and back motor to provide quattro traction and torque vectoring. Total system output is 590bhp, good for 62mph in 3.5secs and 124mph in 12secs (Porsche quotes the same figures, but puts 'under' in front of them). Max is 149mph, WLTP range is 250 miles, and 800 volt charging means you'll be able to charge to 80 percent in 20 minutes.
So far, so familiar. And predictable. Now for the less well-known stuff. Brake energy recovery will be a big deal. Up to 0.3g you will not be using the ceramic disk brakes at all, just reversing the polarity of the electric motors. That should take care of 90 percent of all your braking needs and you'll be able to pull paddles to vary the deceleration – just like engine braking on downshifting. That's not new: Hyundai has it on the Kona EV. There's a 450-liter boot and a 100-liter 'surprise' under-bonnet area. Everyone's doing them these days.
Inside, Audi claims interior vegan. The leather is synthetic, there's a microfibre headlining and the carpets are made from recycled fishing nets. Presumably they remove the dolphins from them first.
The skateboard electric platform endows the e-tron GT with a similar low center of gravity to the R8. Safe to say it's not being pitched in quite as sporting a direction. Do not worry though, doubtless Audi will have an electric R8 along before 2025.