Audi launches electric SUV in Tesla's backyard, with help from Amazon

19 Septembre, 2018, 16:32 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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While bears have warned on Tesla Inc.'s (TSLA) vulnerability to new entrants in the electric vehicle (EV) market, one of Musk's biggest skeptics on the Street says Audi's new e-Tron SUV "underscores" the difficulty in catching up to the Palo Alto, Calif. -based industry pioneer.

However, Audi's charging infrastructure pales in comparison to Tesla's. It is one of a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, as well as other European premium brands including Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.

Drivers of the e-tron will be able to get an 80 percent charge in about a half hour at public high-speed charging stations. After signing up, users save monthly on electricity costs depending on a certain project's energy production.

The investment firm estimates that Audi will sell 70,000 e-Trons per year when it starts deliveries by the beginning of the second quarter 2019.

Moving forward, Audio has bigger plans to release 20 electric and hybrid vehicles by 2025.

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"The e-tron is certainly a threat to Tesla", said Jeff Schuster, an analyst at LMC Automotive.

Still, the question for many is whether the E-tron will successfully challenge Tesla's dominance of the luxury EV market. It offers seating for five, and its length and wheelbase position it in the center of the market for midsize, five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5. Schuster said the e-tron will compete with Tesla's Model X for high-end customers who want an all-electric crossover utility vehicle.

Audi officials said they do not have official range estimates for the e-tron SUV under United States testing procedures.

The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the auto within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle, but the system will be designed so that drivers must keep hands on the wheel.

"The Model X is a little bit larger, more seat configurations, with a third-row seat option, so the e-tron doesn't have all of that", Schuster told CNBC.

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