The Audi e‑Tron Experience

September 17, 2020

The Audi e‑Tron Experience: Real Life Testimonials

Sonja Meintsma's Review

Upon start­ing my work at Den­ver Metro Clean Cities Coali­tion (DMCC), I was met with a key chal­lenge: how do I advo­cate for EVs when I’ve nev­er dri­ven one? For years, I have seen Tes­las, LEAFs, and Bolts cruis­ing around my neigh­bor­hood, but I didn’t per­son­al­ly know any­one who owned one. My strug­gling grad­u­ate stu­dent friends couldn’t afford one and I had been out of the coun­try for years pre­vi­ous­ly. The clos­est I had come was rid­ing along in a Prius, a hybrid with­out a plug.

Luck­i­ly, with­in weeks of start­ing at DMCC, our staff had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to host a social­ly-dis­tanced ride & dri­ve event where we were show­cas­ing three EVs: an Audi e‑Tron SUV, a Kira Niro EV cross­back, and a Tes­la Mod­el 3. Beyond that, I was giv­en the chance to take the Audi e‑Tron back to Col­orado Springs for three days.

My dad owns an Audi Q7, so I have dri­ven an Audi before and was able to draw a direct com­par­i­son between dri­ving an Audi gas engine and an Audi elec­tric. Of note; I hate dri­ving my Dad’s Audi. It’s huge and bulky, the con­sole sys­tem is com­plete­ly unin­tel­li­gi­ble and non-intu­itive, and it makes the most annoy­ing beep­ing sounds any­time you are not in dri­ve, for any rea­son. But the e‑Tron, now that’s an Audi I’d be moti­vat­ed to dri­ve every day of my life!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when get­ting behind the wheel of the e‑Tron. Hav­ing just expe­ri­enced dri­ving a Tes­la Mod­el 3, which is unlike any dri­ving expe­ri­ence I’ve ever had, I wasn’t sure if the Audi would resem­ble this alien Tes­la expe­ri­ence or be more sim­i­lar to the feel of the Q7.

If I had to cat­e­go­rize it, I’d say it winds up some­where in the mid­dle. The dash­board and con­sole are clean and reflect the changes in tech­nol­o­gy we’ve seen in recent years—with much of the sys­tem being on-screen. By my count, there are three screens in the Audi e‑Tron, two for nav­i­ga­tion (one in front of the dri­ver, where the gas gauge is placed in a gas car), one that can be switched on and alter­nat­ed between radio, phone, etc. while the third screen nav­i­gates the cli­mate con­trol, includ­ing the two built-in mas­sage chairs for the dri­ver and pas­sen­ger seats (what a luxury!!)

Dri­ving the Audi was a dream—it’s smooth, doesn’t feel bulky, giv­en it’s size, and is so qui­et. The dri­ve from Den­ver to Col­orado Springs—always a headache due to con­stant con­struc­tion and traffic—was less aggra­vat­ing for two sig­nif­i­cant fac­tors: 1) my men­tal fatigue from think­ing about all the GHGs I was putting into the atmos­phere while bumper-to-bumper had dis­ap­peared! 2) once the free­way opened up, I was able to swift­ly and qui­et­ly leave my traf­fic bud­dies behind, reach­ing 75 miles an hour in about 6 sec­onds. And let me tell you, even if you are not a speed­ster, that is a thrill!

The Audi has a regen­er­a­tive brak­ing sys­tem (check out a video on how that works here), but it is not strik­ing­ly notice­able when com­pared to the full effect of the Tes­la regen brake. The car will slow infin­i­tes­i­mal­ly when you take your foot off the gas, but not enough to bring you to a com­plete stop. Addi­tion­al­ly, one of the coolest ele­ments of dri­ving down the moun­tains is being able to watch your car regain miles you lost on your ascent up the moun­tain. On our dri­ve down North Cheyenne Moun­tain, we gained about eight miles back!

Aside from the thrill of watch­ing my miles come back, dri­ving in the moun­tains is a delight­ful expe­ri­ence because of the smooth and quick accel­er­a­tion up steep hills. There are no gears in EVs, which means no sen­sa­tion (or sound) of the gears shift­ing beneath you as you accel­er­ate or climb a hill. It’s a smooth, qui­et ride with extreme­ly quick speed gain, even on the steep­est of hills.

Since it was my first expe­ri­ence dri­ving an EV, I was a bit ner­vous about charg­ing the car, which I end­ed up doing twice over the three days I drove the e‑Tron. I used an EVGo Fast Charg­er both times, tak­ing about 40 min­utes to charge to 80 per­cent of the bat­tery, the charge lev­el rec­om­mend­ed by most man­u­fac­tur­ers. For my first charge ses­sion, I ate a quick din­ner from a restau­rant next door and com­plet­ed some gro­cery shop­ping the sec­ond time. Each ses­sion end­ed up cost­ing me between $12–14 which cer­tain­ly beats the $24 bill I usu­al­ly see when I fill my gas tank. We did have some dif­fi­cul­ty get­ting the plug out of the e‑Tron, which has a release but­ton on the side of the out­let that we are ini­tial­ly unaware of. Aside from that small hic­cup, charg­ing was seam­less, and I got a prime park­ing loca­tion at the local Wal­mart, always a bonus.

Dri­ving the Audi e‑Tron was an expe­ri­ence well worth repeat­ing and I can’t wait to own a per­son­al EV—they are qui­et, effi­cient, pow­er­ful, and I feel less envi­ron­men­tal-guilt when dri­ving one. Will the Audi be my choice? Unfor­tu­nate­ly for me, the price tag is a bit out of my range, even with the poten­tial $12,500 in rebates and tax incen­tives off the pur­chase price. But maybe one day, I’ll be cruis­ing around Col­orado in the Audi e‑Tron mod­el 4.0. A girl can always dream.

By Son­ja Meintsma

Look­ing for some videos about what dri­vers think of the Audi e‑Tron?

Here is a review from a Den­ver-based dri­ver who drove the e‑Tron around Col­orado for a few days.

Here is an in-depth tour the SUV. This video high­lights the specs and design of the car over the dri­ve experience.

And if you want to check out the upcom­ing 2021 Audi e‑Tron Sport­back, here is a quick demo video.

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