A slightly more accessible and capable EV
The 2021 Audi E-Tron, the company’s first all-electric car, will start at nearly $9,000 less than the current version and will get a range bump of 18 miles — bringing its total EPA-estimated range to 222 miles on a full battery pack.
The starting MSRP is dropping thanks to a new base version of the E-Tron SUV that will now start at $65,900, which is down $8,900 from the current $74,800 price tag. There are some sacrifices, of course. The company’s “Matrix” LED headlights (which aren’t available in the US to begin with) aren’t included with the base model, and neither is the Bang & Olufsen sound system. Audi will sell more fully-loaded versions of the 2021 E-Tron that start as high as $79,100.
The improvement to the E-Tron’s range come from tweaks and optimizations, like making it possible to occasionally disengage the electric motor on the front axle when it’s not needed in order to save power. Audi is also allowing the 2021 E-Tron access more of the total capacity of the 95 kWh battery pack. The new version of the electric SUV has a total usable capacity of 86.5 kWh, up from 83.6kWh. (Automakers typically limit the usable capacity of the battery packs in electric cars to reduce degradation over the life of the car.)
Those changes combine to bring the new EPA range up from 204 miles to 222 miles. While that’s still far from the figures that Tesla is reaching these days — the newest Model S sedans can travel 402 miles on a fully-charged battery, which has a total capacity of 100kWh — all improvements to electric vehicle range are welcome, and they’re thankfully becoming a common occurrence. For instance, Jaguar announced a similar bump to the I-Pace’s range at the end of 2019, moving its total from 234 miles to 246 miles. Even the Chevy Bolt gained 21 miles of range last year during a model year jump.
Audi has two smaller, more affordable Q4 versions of the E-Tron on the way next year that will be powered by parent company Volkswagen’s modular electric vehicle platform. Designed from the ground up to power the Volkswagen Group’s many forthcoming electric cars, the platform should provide better range and performance at lower cost.