Anyone looking to be among the first to take delivery of Audi's upcoming e-tron electric SUV will be able to configure and reserve one starting September 17. The date is when Audi will present the completed vehicle for the first time, with the debut confirmed by Audi on Thursday to be in San Francisco.
The debut was previously confirmed for the Audi Summit event in Brussels, Belgium on August 30 but was pushed back following June's arrest of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler by German authorities as part of their investigation into the diesel scandal. Stadler, though not charged, remains behind bars and there are rumors he may be replaced.
Reserving the five-seat e-tron will require interested buyers pay a $1,000 refundable reservation fee. This will then unlock a digital space where the buyer will be able to track the progress of the order online and with their local dealer. Such a buying process, popularized by Tesla with its Model 3, is part of a changing future at Audi that the brand will provide details on at the e-tron's debut.
Electrification and digital tools are expected to play a major role in this changing future. And to support buyers of its electric cars—the e-tron is just one of a handful—Audi plans to unveil new in-home charging solutions, charging station apps, and support opportunities at 303 dealerships across the country.
Audi e-tron quattro concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show
The first buyers will receive their e-trons in early 2019. Audi is yet to confirm specs but has hinted at a range of at least 250 miles. A 150-kilowatt fast-charging system will provide 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes.
In the original e-tron quattro concept (shown above) unveiled in 2015 to preview the e-tron, a single electric motor sat at the front axle and two more motors were fitted at the rear. Peak output was around 430 horsepower, though an energy boost mode was able to lift this to 496 hp momentarily. The battery was a 95-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit.
Audi will introduce two more electric cars by 2020. One will be a more coupe-like version of the e-tron and the other is expected to be an electric compact car, possibly based on the A3. A high-performance e-tron GT sedan and two small SUVs are expected to follow early next decade.