Audi e-tron goes on Tour: Ten Countries in 24 Hours

The biggest fear among traditional car buyers over electric vehicles is range: will an electric car leave me stranded on a long trip? Obviously, EVs don’t have the sort of long-legged range that a gasoline or diesel car has. Not only that, they take longer to “refuel”. So, at the moment, EVs aren’t exactly ideal for road trips. That doesn’t mean they’re not capable of a long trip, though. The folks in Ingolstadt set out to prove that by taking an Audi e-tron through ten different European countries. In 24 hours.

From Lake Bled in Slovenia all the way to Amsterdam, three different Audi e-tron SUVs took three journalists each over 1,600 km (994.2 mi). That’s almost four times the total range of the e-tron. What’s impressive about that isn’t necessarily just the distance but also the charge times. Typically, it takes a few hours to charge an electric car from flat to full, even when using a fast charger. However, thanks to the 150 kW charging capability (and some very carefully planned charging stops), it can take just under thirty minutes to get 80 percent of charge.

Those fast charging times allowed the e-tron drivers to tackle over 1,600 km and ten different countries in just one day. Admittedly, the sort of fast-charging stations that can provide 150 kW charging are few and far between and were carefully planned into the route ahead of time. The Audi e-tron drivers charged seven times and all seven were at these uber-fast charging stations. That’s not really a knock on the car or the brand, as any owner could do the same. It’s just worth noting that it can’t be charged that quickly at any charge station.

“On the journalists’ tour we’ve also shown that, apart from the range itself, fast-charging capability with 150 kW is crucially important.” said Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, Audi Board of Management Member for Technical Development.

Though, the Audi e-tron is more than just capable of making a long road trip. It’s actually enjoyable to do so in. Through all of the different terrain, road conditions and weather, the e-tron proved to be a reliable and welcome companion. Whether it was in the Alps, using its electric Quattro system to help manage its power, or on the flat roads of Rhine, where its quiet cabin and smooth ride made it incredibly comfortable, the Audi e-tron performed well.

“Our electric SUV is an excellent long-distance car because it perfectly combines a high degree of ride comfort, performance and efficiency,” said Rothenpieler.

This little road trip experiment of Audi’s proves that the e-tron can be used for more than just around-town grocery runs. It can actually be used as an everyday car and could even be a family’s only car. Sure, long-distance trips will take some extra planning ahead and more stops to recharge than in a traditional car but that’s part of being an early adopter. The tech will improve, as will the charging infrastructure. But this road trip proves that, even now, the Audi e-tron is a well-rounded, usable, everyday luxury SUV. Just one that happens to be electric.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.