Tesla hasn’t fairly managed to turn out to be a byword for the electrical automotive in the identical approach Hoover is definitely a vacuum cleaner, but it surely’s inconceivable to keep away from namedropping the American model each time a brand new premium electrical automotive hits the market – and that’s one thing that’s going to occur lots over the following 18 months.
Jaguar was the primary premium rival to lock horns with Tesla, with the I-Tempo. We appreciated the large, battery-powered Brit very a lot, declaring it our Automotive of the 12 months final summer season.
Up subsequent is Audi with its all-new e-tron, earlier than Mercedes and BMW take a swing at Tesla’s SUV with the EQC and iX3 respectively. As with the Tesla Mannequin X, the brand new Audi is a robust and splendid SUV with huge measurements and many area.
Additionally, a fast charging system alongside main European routes (very similar to Tesla’s Supercharger set-up) is underneath improvement within the type of the Ionity community, shared throughout quite a few manufacturers, together with Audi.
The e-tron is a automotive made with Ionity firmly in thoughts, given its recharging capabilities, and on paper it’s a automotive that has the potential to clip the wings of the Mannequin X.
|Mannequin:||Audi e-tron 55 quattro||Tesla Mannequin X 100kWh|
|Worth:||£68,020 (after £three,500 Authorities grant)||£82,350 (after £three,500 Authorities grant)|
|Engine:||Twin electrical motors||Twin electrical motors|
|Transmission:||Single-speed computerized, four-wheel drive||Single-speed computerized, four-wheel drive|
|Zero-62mph:||5.7 seconds||four.9 seconds|
|Vary:||249 miles (WLTP)||351 miles (NEDC)|
At this second in time each of those fashions are on the absolute high finish of electrical automotive expertise, desirability and vary. Each of them hum easily and elegantly, however pinning the throttle reveals a violent degree of acceleration low down when wanted. Nonetheless, the Audi and Tesla each have one thing else to supply in abundance: battery vary.
Tesla’s newest figures for the 100kWh Mannequin X make spectacular studying: Zero-62mph in four.9 seconds, a high pace of 155mph and a spread of 351 miles on a single cost. That last determine needs to be taken with a giant pinch of salt, thoughts, as a result of the model nonetheless makes use of the outdated NEDC check regime.
In distinction, the 249-mile determine claimed by the 95kWh battery within the Audi has been obtained underneath the newer and more durable WLTP check, and as such, it ought to show to be far more correct.
The e-tron will not be as fast because the Tesla, and that is down partly to its hefty weight. Audi’s first pure EV doesn’t sit on a devoted EV platform; as a substitute it makes use of a closely modified model of the Volkswagen Group’s MLB structure, which is heavy.
Both approach, the discrepancy between the NEDC-correlated Tesla and the WLTP-tested Audi is delivered to an in depth on a motorway blast. At larger speeds, count on the Tesla to return round 180 miles of real-world vary, with the Audi a little bit behind on 174 miles. Each vehicles can muster greater than 200 miles of real-world vary on a single cost, in a much less taxing mixture of environments.
Simply as vital as vary is charging, and each of those premium electrical SUVs make compelling instances for themselves.
It’s inconceivable to disregard the impressively giant 120kW Supercharger community that the Mannequin X can depend upon. Within the UK, the scheme stretches from Folkestone to Inverness, and whereas trying on the Supercharger map reveals that it’s nonetheless primarily connected to main roads, the charging grid continues to develop. Certainly, ever extra rural charging stations are anticipated to open this 12 months.
In the end, although, the e-tron can recharge at a quicker charge than the Mannequin X when linked as much as an acceptable fast charging level. The Audi’s intelligent thermal administration permits recharging at 150kW, which implies an 80 per cent top-up will be achieved in slightly below half an hour. Sadly, the UK’s community of 150kW ultra-rapid chargers continues to be embryonic. So whereas the e-tron is technically extra succesful than the Mannequin X, there may be at current nearly no alternative for it to show it.
How are these two SUVs on the highway? In the end, each exhibit the 2 trademark EV hallmarks: immense energy off the road and exceptionally serene operating. Nonetheless, each undergo the identical efficiency pitfalls, too. As much as an electronically restricted high pace of 124mph within the Audi, and 155mph within the Tesla, you’ll transfer forwards ridiculously quickly. However the vehicles’ techniques will in a short time turn out to be too sizzling, and efficiency might be pulled again accordingly.
Right here is the place the primary main distinction between the e-tron and Mannequin X lies. The Audi is concentrated on sustaining a constant degree of efficiency, with a number of digital muzzles dictating how a lot energy can be utilized and for the way lengthy. So whereas its high degree of efficiency can’t match the Tesla’s, the trade-off is that you just’d actually battle to get the e-tron out of its snug temperature vary and into limp mode. Max energy of 402bhp is simply out there for eight seconds, though you possibly can have 335bhp for as much as a minute.
Drive the e-tron usually, then, and it’ll function in a really secure window, producing simply 134bhp. The Tesla is much extra liberal with how its energy will be dished up; in order for you all 517bhp you possibly can have it, however solely till the battery and motor start to cry for mercy. After this, efficiency fades shortly because the automotive battles to chill itself. It’s the extra thrilling proposition, although.
Consolation goes hand in hand with silent electrical operating, and it’s one thing the Audi is best at. Decrease highway noise, mixed with smoother journey high quality, extra constant steering and nice roadholding, all imply it’s wonderful to drive usually.
The Tesla is the noisier SUV, and the silence of the electrical motor is changed by tyre roar and bodywork creaks. As well as, it appears tougher to direct; the imprecise chassis and explosive powertrain make it tougher to drive actually precisely.
Within the cabin, each vehicles should not with out their pluses and minuses. Dashboard design and format are one thing completely subjective; we’ll depart it to you to determine which one you favor the look of. However each of those vehicles function cutting-edge infotainment and inside expertise.
The Tesla feels prefer it has a little bit extra cabin area to supply. The Mannequin X is obtainable with seven seats, in fact, and it options way more in the best way of boot area. However the high quality inside doesn’t fairly match the Audi’s. A quirk of the gullwing-style “Falcon doorways” is beam operating down the centre of the automotive hinders head area within the center rear seat, and whereas the doorways themselves are dazzling, they’re removed from excellent in tight automotive parks.
The Audi isn’t with out its quirks, thoughts you – mainly the camera-based door mirror system. Cameras on dainty brackets seize the pictures to the left and proper of the automotive, and these are relayed to small displays within the door trims. It seems like science fiction and in real-world use it feels unnatural; hi-tech although it’s,that is an possibility we’d depart unticked.
So whereas the e-tron doesn’t area as spectacular a powertrain because the Tesla, nor have as many options, it does really feel like a higher-quality automotive inside and outside. And but it has a considerably cheaper price.
At current, Tesla asks £82,350 for a Mannequin X Lengthy Vary with no optionally available extras. The bottom value of the e-tron at launch is £68,020. Actually, you would even snag the e-tron Launch Version – a model stacked with optionally available package – for £82,270. If you’re spending that a lot, high quality issues, and the Audi has it in spades.
Audi e-tron: On paper the e-tron has the faster charging potential, however the community wanted to assist it’s nonetheless in its infancy within the UK.
Tesla Mannequin X: Supercharger community is without doubt one of the Tesla’s largest plus factors; it’s quick, dependable and continues to develop, even into rural areas.
First place: Audi e-tron
Superior steering and journey high quality, constant efficiency, heavy on tech and impeccably completed. In on a regular basis use the Audi is the higher selection, but it surely undoubtedly lacks the Tesla’s thrilling edge.
Second place: Tesla Mannequin X
Nonetheless packs the punch to be a vastly thrilling and engaging electrical automotive. It’s going to proceed to have its followers, however the e-tron seems like a higher-quality, extra snug automotive for much less.