Last week, we attended a launch drive day for Audi’s second e-tron electric SUV release - the Sportback 55 S line. Arriving in the premium S line trim as standard - Valcona leather, the four-door sportback manages a fresh, sporty look while remaining sophisticated.
After collecting our fleet of test cars from Giltrap Audi in Auckland, we headed 46kms south. Our first stop was only a quick one at the new dual 300kW Hypercharging stations in Bombay. Here, we met a representative from ChargeNet who told us about the latest in charging news.
The Bombay dual chargers are just the first, with a further nine planned for early 2021 in EV charging hot spots such as Kaiwaka (North), Smales Farm (Auckland) and Bulls (West Coast near Palmy) to name just a few. Incidentally, ChargeNet have just celebrated installing their 200th charge point, located in Castle Hill Village near Arthurs Pass on the South Island.
At the new Hyperchargers, we were able to charge two of the e-tron Sportbacks at each charger, and only required around a dozen minutes to top the vehicles back up to 100%. We soon charged onto our lunch destination off the back of the Raglan coast, swapping the driving duties along the way.
We took the scenic back roads towards Raglan, through to the Glass House for our lunch. Perched on the side of Mt Karioi, the site offers off-grid and sustainable luxury accommodation in the form of a holiday home that you can hire - a truly fitting place to park our EVs.
Our drive consisted of open free-flowing highway to windy back roads, with a bit of extreme slow almost goat-track like windy roads nearer to the batch. The e-tron Sportback handled all of these roads with ease and comfort, with the varying road conditions allowing us to experience the different drive select modes to access how the vehicle characteristics change to suit differing conditions.
Interestingly enough, the Sportback only loses 20mm of headroom over the original e-tron SUV EV which launched last year, of which over 120 vehicles have already been sold in NZ. The ‘frunk’ or ‘front trunk’ has 60 litres of storage and also houses the tool kit and charging cable. The car offers 615 litres of luggage capacity in total. Folding down the rear seats increases the luggage capacity to 1,665 litres.
Audi claim the e-tron Sportback has a range of 446km, and it can be charged using a DC fast-charger at up to 150kW. At this rate the battery would reach 80% in just under 30 minutes, which in most cases would be enough for the next leg of a long-distance journey.
As most of EV charging is carried out at home (approximately 95%), different charging options for Audi owners are available through HRV for a simple 230-volt connection and a 400-volt three-phase outlet with an output of up to 11kW.