Will the new Audi e-tron 50 quattro make it to the US?
The Audi e-tron SUV is the first in a brand new family of electrified models from the German marque, all under the e-tron banner - likely to expand with the forthcoming e-tron GT. In the USA, just a single e-tron model is sold, although production issues have halted its progress, and while Audi USA hasn't yet changed its naming scheme to match the numerical one found on other models, it's the equivalent of the e-tron 55 quattro available in other markets. But Audi's now unveiled a junior e-tron with less range and less performance, a more affordable little brother for the e-tron 55 badged as the Audi e-tron 50 quattro.
With the EV market growing, Audi is now trying to tap into a market of budget-conscious buyers who don't want to spend on the full-fat e-tron 55. Many of them don't need the current model's 402 horsepower and 5.5-second 0-60 mph capabilities, and while an EPA estimated range of 204 miles on a charge is decent, according to Audi USA, most commuters travel less than 160 miles a week, so you might not even need the full range if you charge regularly. That's what the e-tron 50 is looking to capitalize on.
In e-tron 50 guise, two electric motors generate a total output of 309 hp. The motors are powered by a 71 kWh lithium-ion battery (down from 95 kWh on the e-tron 55), with the performance claims still being fairly impressive. 0-62 mph takes 6.8 seconds, and the e-tron will still be able to travel at up to 118 mph. However, with a smaller battery, the range one can travel on a full charge takes a hit. WLTP range estimates of 208.8 miles seem decent, but it's worth remembering that the EPA is far stricter - ensuring claimed figures are closer to achievable real-world figures. The e-tron 55 achieves 75% of the claimed WLTP range when evaluated by the EPA, and using this approximation, the e-tron 50 would only be able to cover 143 miles on a full charge.
The model is fast-charge enabled, however, with 80% charge recuperated within 30 minutes. In the UK, where the e-tron 50 has been announced, the base e-tron is priced at approximately $7,800 less than the base e-tron 55. If a similar saving were to be applied to a US model, you'd be paying $67,000 for an e-tron with 143 miles range - approximately the same price as a base Jaguar I-Pace with a claimed 234-mile range and a 90 kWh battery. Could it be a viable option to bring the 50 to the USA? At this stage, Audi has no plans to, but who knows, it could be a way of attracting more buyers to the e-tron brand.