Audi e-tron 2020: technical updates boost range of electric SUV

'55' model gets range boost as Sportback variant and cheaper '50' drivetrain arrive for 2020

Audi e-tron

Audi has announced technical upgrades for the 2020 version of its e-tron electric SUV, boosting the potential driving range of both the standard 55 quattro and forthcoming 50 quattro versions. The 55 sees its range increased to 271 miles (from 248) and the yet-to-be-introduced 50 (see below for more details) will now cover 209 miles on a single charge (up from 186).

Technical aspects of the update include reductions in energy losses from the regenerative braking system and more efficient operation of the electric motors, with the front motor disengaging under light load (such as when cruising on the motorway) in order to reduce energy consumption. Energy recovery while coasting has also been improved.

Battery cooling and heat management have been improved and there has been a slight increase in the useable battery capacity for both models, too. All electric cars keep a small portion of battery capacity unused in order to ensure longevity, and the 95kWh pack in the 55 model now has a useable capacity of 87kWh.

The upgraded hardware will also be found in the new-for-2020 e-tron Sportback coupe-SUV variant, which will be available with both the 50 and 55 drivetrains. In this case, maximum range will be 278 and 216 miles respectively, thanks to the Sportback's slightly more aerodynamic (but simultaneously less practical) body.

An S line trim level has also been added to the range, with 20-inch wheels, sports-tuned air suspension, a more distinctively contoured bumper than the standard car, better airflow over the body, a rear spoiler and diffuser, plus S line logos inside and out.

Audi says pricing of the cars will be unchanged after the upgrades, but unfortunately for owners of the current e-tron 55 quattro, there is no possibility of the upgrades being applied to their cars.

Audi e-tron 50 quattro

The 50 quattro (pictured above) features a smaller 71kWh battery with a range of 209 miles, down on the 271 miles achieved by the existing 95kWh version of the SUV.

A pair of electric motors combine to produce 308bhp and deliver all-wheel drive, although Audi says only the rear motor will be active most of the time in order to boost efficiency.

The e-tron 50 quattro will be slightly slower than the existing model over the 0-62mph sprint, completing it in seven seconds on its way to a top speed of 118mph. The maximum charging speed is also lower than that of the 55, with a top rate of 120kW allowing a 0-80% charge in 30 minutes.

Prices for the e-tron 50 quattro will be confirmed at a later date, however it should significantly undercut the current starting price of £68,060; a figure which includes the government’s £3,500 plug-in car discount.