Blowin’ in the Wind with the Audi e-tron

In 1831, Michael Faraday discovered the peculiar phenomenon of induction, in which magnetic forces and electric currents interact. The beautiful simplicity of it all has earned it a strong presence in everyday life, being put to use in a plethora of gadgets. One such gadget is the brand new Audi e-tron, an interesting addition to the growing electric car market. I took the e-tron on a trip to its power source. They were huge fans.

The e-tron has a no-nonsense look, featuring strong lines and angles and sizeable wheels and arches. It’s a big car, measuring nearly five metres long and two metres across and weighing in somewhere in the region of 2.5 tonnes. However, it hasn’t been wasted, as the interior offers excellent comfort and space, including a 600-litre luggage compartment. 95 kWh of batteries make up a massive chunk of that weight, and offers more than 400 km of range. The seats feel good, feeling the right kind of chunky and solid, as does the steering wheel. Three LED screens are brimming with information, two of them centrally positioned and one being the instrument panel. Information and settings are intuitively laid out, showing that Audi actually had the everyday driver in mind when creating the e-tron.

After start-up, I activated Drive from the unusually shaped gear selector and rolled away towards the highway, where I pushed the accelerator all the way down and experienced the enjoyable magic of induction first-hand. The effect 408 hp and not least 664 Nm has on 2.5 tonnes of car is quite the smile inducer – the acceleration seems to bend reality. “Wow“, a young boy in the back seat exclaimed. The four youngsters that joined me for the drive were my expert panel, and I was curious to hear their verdicts in the end.

We eventually turned off the road and found what I’d been looking for; a wind turbine park. I tried drawing my passengers a mental picture of the way energy travelled: The fast moving air pushing on the blades of the turbine, making it rotate, inducing electricity that was sent onto the power grid, from which we could charge the e-tron’s batteries, which in turn would translate electricity into rotation, making the e-tron move. The strong winds blew both hair and mind.

The small road we travelled to reach the wind turbines was clearly not intended for regular use, seeing how the road featured gravel, mud and rocks up to handball size. Enter Offroad mode and the e-tron lifts, traversing said road conditions with ease, showing off its quattro abilities. Back on the main road, it became clear that the e-tron is a car that will master almost any road you can throw at it. Attacking dry tarmac corners at optimistic speeds yield positive surprises, thanks to an active suspension and a low centre of gravity. Once again, the e-tron seems to have its own approach to the laws of physics.

As I headed back towards the dealer, I noticed that the navigation map appeared illogical – it would show names of smaller places, but left out the larger ones. Quite out of place in a car of this character. Back at the dealer, I asked my fellow travellers what they thought of the e-tron. “I never thought it was that fast“. “It was fun standing in the sun roof“. Not a single complaint, which says a lot – kids aren’t known for their moderation.

A big thank you to Møller Bil Forus for arranging the drive.

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