The all-electric Audi e-tron has garnered lots of attention since its introduction in 2018. It looks nice, plus it has the tech specs to match. However, there are a handful of reasons why some people may choose to avoid an Audi e-tron instead. Buyers need to consider each of these five reasons before they drive off the lot with a new e-tron. There’s plenty to love about the Audi EV, but there’s just as much to be wary of, too. By understanding these drawbacks, consumers can make a more informed decision about purchasing this electric SUV from Audi.
5 Must-Know Facts About the Audi e-tron
- The Audi e-tron features a dual-motor setup. One electric motor powers the front wheels, while the other powers the rear. This configuration provides all-wheel drive capability and supports impressive performance, including quick acceleration and responsive handling.
- Thanks to regenerative braking technology, the e-tron takes kinetic energy from deceleration and braking and converts it into electricity. This energy recharges the vehicle’s battery and improves overall efficiency while extending the driving range.
- As with all Audis, the manufacturer packed the e-tron with advanced technology and luxurious amenities. It comes with a high-tech interior and a digital instrument cluster with a central touchscreen for infotainment controls. It also offers a variety of enhanced safety features.
- The Audi e-tron offers an innovative feature called virtual side mirrors. Instead of traditional side mirrors, these virtual side mirrors use small cameras to capture the rearview. The images display on high-resolution screens located inside the vehicle.
- As an SUV, the Audi e-tron delivers strong towing capabilities. The 2024 Q8 e-tron is capable of towing up to 4,000 pounds — that’s two tons of towing power!
Audi e-tron Specs
|Vehicle Class||Mid-size luxury crossover SUV|
|Body Style||5-door SUV|
|Layout||Dual or triple motors with four-wheel drive|
|Platform||Volkswagen Group MLB Evo|
|Battery||89-114 kWh lithium ion|
|Electric Range||300 miles per charge|
The History of the Audi e-tron
While we often think of electric cars as a modern concept emerging in the 2010s, the history of the Audi e-tron traces back to 2009. This fully electric vehicle from German automaker Audi was first unveiled as a concept car at the ’09 International Motor Show in Frankfurt. This concept car gave audiences a glimpse at Audi’s vision for an all-electric future. From its sleek design to its advanced technology to its groundbreaking all-electric drivetrain, the e-tron appeared impressive. (Especially for 2009, when consumers balked at EVs more often than today.)
This overwhelmingly positive response from the public and the automotive industry pushed Audi to begin the development of a production version of the e-tron. It took nearly a decade, but by 2018, Audi was ready to unveil the first production-ready model of the e-tron. Serving as the manufacturer’s first fully electric SUV, the Q8 e-tron combined Audi’s renowned craftsmanship and luxurious features with the benefits of fully electric power. However, the EV could only offer around 200 miles per charge. Rival EVs offer as much as 350 miles per charge or more. Talk about quite a setback.
Despite its poor mileage, Audi continued to expand its e-tron lineup in the following years. The long-wheelbase variant Q2L e-tron dropped in 2019. A coupe version of the Q8 hit the streets in 2020. A high-performance electric sedan, the Audi e-tron GT, dropped in 2021. Yet, the battery range remained a serious issue. Even the newest 2024 Q8 e-trons offer just 300 miles per charge. Nevertheless, Audi aims to have a fully electric lineup by 2026. We’ll see if these future versions address the primary reasons to avoid an Audi e-tron below.
Why Avoid an Audi e-tron?
The Audi e-tron looks beautiful. Plus, it comes fully loaded with excellent tech specs. However, given the state of the EV market today, people can’t afford to buy simply off of looks and bonus features alone. People need a car with a great range, a good price, and a spacious interior. The Audi e-tron falls short of these necessities in more ways than one. Looking past the aesthetics and the tech, here are five unassailable reasons why you might want to avoid an Audi e-tron.
Above all else, the Audi e-tron’s painfully limited range is a serious problem. Older versions of the Q8 e-tron offer a range of around 200 miles on a single charge. Newer models aren’t much better, with the 2024 Q8 e-tron offering just 300 miles per charge. If EVs such as the e-tron ever wish to succeed, they’re going to need to do better than that.
Most potential EV buyers are looking for a car that can get them where they need to go without fail. People don’t have time to make sure they’re all charged up when they’re in a rush to and from work. That doesn’t even touch on long-distance travel or hourlong commutes — especially ones without proper access to charging stations, which we’ll touch on later. This limited range just won’t do.
From its fancy interiors to its elegant exterior to its high-class brand name, the Audi e-tron is a luxury electric vehicle through and through. Naturally, luxury comes with a higher price tag than your average EV. 2024 Audi Q8 e-trons have an MSRP of over $75,000. That number will only go up from there once you include more add-ons and features.
No matter if you’re in the market for a gas-powered or electric SUV, the e-tron likely exceeds the cost of your average Ford, Chevy, or Toyota. This premium price tag makes the e-tron a non-starter for more budget-conscious consumers seeking a more affordable electric vehicle.
Driving down the highway in your gas-powered vehicle and needing to fill up? Even in the middle of nowhere, you can rest easy knowing the average distance from one gas station to another is just three and a half miles in America.
You cannot say the same for electric vehicles, however. Here in America, the average distance from one charging station to another is closer to 70 miles. This is a problem that extends far beyond the e-tron to encapsulate all EVs on the market today. Combine this with its limited range, and avoiding an Audi e-tron feels like a no-brainer.
When you think of an SUV, you picture a wide, open cabin with plenty of room for storage and seating. While the e-tron is an SUV, it’s clear the interior is significantly lacking compared to your typical vehicles of this type. Its exterior looks big enough, but once you climb inside, you might as well be in a sedan.
This has everything to do with its large battery pack and electric components, which occupy too much of the interior space. This results in less space for cargo and seating in comparison to other SUVs (both electric and gas-powered).
You already know that charging an electric vehicle takes longer than refueling a gas-powered car. Nevertheless, the Audi e-tron — like other electric vehicles — requires a significant amount of time to fully charge its battery. This is true even with its fast-charging options.
Long charge times are not the most convenient thing for owners who do a lot of driving. Same for those who have limited time to recharge before needing to head out again. Not everyone has that kind of time, even with a fast charger that gets you to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.
In Review: Reasons to Avoid an Audi e-tron Today
Consumers should not take these five reasons to avoid an Audi e-tron lightly. It is crucial for consumers to consider these significant drawbacks before making the decision to purchase an e-tron. While the vehicle has its positive aspects, it is just as important to be cautious about its limitations. By understanding these drawbacks, consumers can make a more informed choice about whether the Audi e-tron is the right electric vehicle for them.
Let’s review these reasons below.
- The EV’s limited range per charge makes long commutes and far travels difficult
- This luxury EV comes with a very high price tag
- The nation’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure still has a long way to go
- Despite being marketed as an SUV, the Audi e-tron lacks serious space
- Long charge times could be a major inconvenience for some
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|Limited Range||Older versions offer around 200 miles per charge, while newer models offer just 300 miles per charge.|
|Expensive Price||2024 Audi Q8 e-trons have an MSRP of over $75,000, making it less affordable for budget-conscious consumers.|
|Charging Infrastructure||Average distance between charging stations in the US is 70 miles, making long-distance travel inconvenient.|
|Cramped Interior||Large battery pack and electric components occupy too much interior space, resulting in less cargo and seating space compared to other SUVs.|
|Charge Times||Long charge times, even with fast-charging options, can be inconvenient for owners who do a lot of driving or have limited time to recharge.|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©skirgaila photography/Shutterstock.com.