Facelift for pioneer Stromer: Audi Q8 E-Tron revealed
New name, new battery
The new electric platform for the next-generation Stromer is still a long time coming at Audi. Audi’s first electric model, called the E-Tron, is therefore now being upgraded with new assistants and a bigger battery – and even the name has changed!
Audi’s first electric model called the E-Tron was introduced in 2018 and is now getting a technological update and a new name.
Never change the model name! This is one of the unwritten rules in the automotive world. For example, Toyota once had to pay on sales when the world bestseller Corolla was renamed Auris in Europe for two generations. Lesson learned – today the compact model is called Corolla again. Therefore, it could be a huge mistake if Audi’s first electric car called E-Tron gets a new name from February 2023.
But it probably isn’t – the change even seems overdue. Because all Stromers in the Audi program have had the E-Tron addition for a long time. It is high time to finally include the former electric pioneer in the model ranking, alongside which he has been riding until now. As the Q8 E-Tron or Q8 E-Tron Sportback for the flat-top version, it now stands alongside the flagship SUV, the Q8. It has so far deviated from the nomenclature, but not from the sales figures: from January 2019 to October 2022, around 3,400 units were sold in Switzerland – more than the two competitors Mercedes EQC (around 1,350) and Jaguar I-Pace (around 1,100) in the same period together. Around 150,000 copies have hit the streets around the world so far.
30 percent more range
The previous E-Tron’s biggest gripe: It’s on an internal combustion engine platform, just like its EQC competitor. But when it was introduced in 2018, things had to be done quickly to get Stromer in the line as well – and the new technology platform would take too much time to develop. At the moment, Audi is also taking note: It will be a while before the pure-blood electric architecture PPE is presented – from 2024, the electric A6 will probably be based on it. That’s why it’s not just a name change: “In the new Q8 E-Tron, we were able to significantly increase the battery capacity and the charging capacity,” says Audi technical director Oliver Hoffmann. There is also a new front mask with a light strip and larger air intakes.
But there is more going on under the hood. The previously smallest battery with a capacity of 71 kilowatt hours (kWh) is no longer needed and is replaced in the basic version by the previous XL battery with a net capacity of 89 kWh. The top model Q8 55 E-Tron and SQ8 E-Tron has a new battery with a net capacity of 106 kWh. Both energy stores have been optimized down to the cell chemistry: Audi uses lithium-nickel-cobalt-alumina (NCA) with a lower cobalt content instead of lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and exclusively on prismatic cells that can be stacked to save space into the battery. Creates 20 percent more active material in cells with higher capacity per cell. Because both versions have slightly improved aerodynamics, the Q8 E-tron 55 has a standard range of around 600 kilometers, 30 percent more than before. With the basic Q8 E-Tron 50 it is around 505 km, with the S version around 513 km. The output of the all-wheel drive versions is 340 hp (250 kW, Q8 50 E-Tron), 408 hp (300 kW, Q8 55 E-Tron) or 503 hp (370 kW, SQ8 E-Tron).
It also now charges 22 kilowatts
The charging capacity is also increased – from 120 to 150 kilowatts (kW) for the basic battery and to 170 kW for the top model. Elegant, but even less so than vehicles with 800-volt technology. However, in order to quickly fill the electricity storage, Audi works to use the maximum charging power for as long as possible, not just in a short peak. The 106 kWh storage tank can now be filled from 10 to 80 percent in approximately 31 minutes. More importantly, if desired, 22 kW charging power will also be possible on AC wall boxes in the future – very few EVs have been able to do this so far.
The basic version takes 6.0 seconds to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h, 55 seconds 5.6 seconds and the S variant 4.5 seconds. Steering should be more direct and control sportier and more agile. The interior now uses more sustainable materials and plastic parts made from recycled material. The Audi Q8 E-Tron starts at the end of February from CHF 84,900. A parking assistant with which you can maneuver the SUV from the outside into a gap via an app is due to arrive in the course of next year.