Audi has jumped into the EV arena with its E-Tron but it has a lot of catching up to do. Especially, when it comes to rival Tesla. Compromised on different levels this week it tried to sweeten the pot so to speak. Maybe it took Roger Penske’s comments to heart when he said the E-Tron was too expensive. That’s because, at $74,800 for a 2020 model, it was too expensive. For 2021 it has lowered the price by almost $9,000.
So, now the price is $65,900 according to Automotive News. But how does that hold up next to the Tesla Model Y? Unfortunately, not too well. There are a few reasons why. For starters, let’s look at that old bugaboo range.
First off, the Model Y is a fairly close match to the E-Tron. Slightly shorter than the E-Tron, it’s still about the same width and height. The Audi E-Tron has 100 miles less range than the long-range AWD Model Y. Competing with Tesla you have to be in the 300-mile range. If you can’t do that then you have to offer something so compelling it makes up for it. Audi thinks it has that something. It’s the interior.
The E-Tron interior is definitely nicer
The E-Tron interior is definitely nicer. Materials and layout are superior to the Tesla Model Y. But the difference between the new E-Tron price and the price of a Model Y before any rebates is $16,000. The E-Tron interior, as nice as it is, is not enough to justify an additional $16,000. Maybe $3,000-4,000, but not 16 big ones.
The new price does undercut both the Tesla Model S and X, but size-wise it is more compatible with the Model Y. This is for the all-new “Premium” level E-Tron trim. From there you have a “convenience package” at almost $70,000; Premium Plus at $75,000; and finally Prestige at $79,100.
The E-Tron has a weight problem
Then there’s a weight problem. Maybe part of the reason the E-Tron can’t get a leg-up on the range is that it weighs 1,300 lbs more than the Model Y. Having to lug around that extra mass is surely compromising the E-Tron. The other part of this is that the E-Tron has an almost identical size battery to a Tesla Model S. It’s 95kWh for the Audi vs. 100 kWh for Tesla. So Tesla is a lot more efficient and quicker, too.
Then there is cargo capacity. The category is not a deal-breaker, but it shows you that in most cases the Tesla trumps the E-Tron. Cargo capacity is 68 cu ft for the Model Y and 55 for the E-Tron.
Somebody is buying E-Trons because so far in 2020 Audi has sold 2,872 E-Trons. That’s over 50% more than last year. We suspect the price reduction will entice more sales. We’ll have to wait and see if Audi can do a better job with range as they have done with the price.