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First Sight: Audi e-tron pop-up

20 September 2018 | by Karl Smith

Audi introduced the e-tron SUV in San Francisco this week to much attention from the press and social media.

But in addition to the formal announcement, Audi had also set up a pop-up charging station mock-up in a local Financial District car park, and we stopped by for a look. Styled in an Audi-esque version of the mid-century modern style, the station shows off Audi’s new fast chargers made by Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen. These will reportedly be able to charge the e-tron to 80 per cent in 30 minutes and will be in place by the time the e-tron rolls into American Audi dealers’ showrooms some time next Spring.


The Electrify America charger played second fiddle to the cars

But chargers, schmargers – no one was interested in those. It was the cars that drew the attention. The e-tron was the guest of honour of course, but threatened to be upstaged by the wickedly handsome PB18 supercar, and the Formula E racing car parked alongside.


The e-tron in the metal. It’s definitely an Audi…

Dedicated team that we are, we dutifully investigated the e-tron first. Audi isn’t straying far from the house style for its electric crossover. If you like the current design language of Audi, you will smile at how well it fits with the rest of Audi’s lineup. If you are not a fan, you may wish for something more, perhaps with a leaping kitty on the front…


The much-discussed grille. Decide for yourself

The grille has been much discussed on social media, and we present it here for your review and discussion. Only about a quarter of it is functional as ventilation. The rest acts as part of the airdam of the overall front mask and assists in the e-tron’s slippery aerodynamics.


The cockpit is pleasantly luxurious. Plenty of screens

Inside, it’s Audi luxury for four people – five if they are good friends. The IP is the predictable set of luxury appointments and dual screen controls. See photo gallery for some candid shots in the late afternoon sun.


Lift up the hatch and a generous boot appears

The hatch and the boot are generous for luggage for two or three people; the fourth should pack light. Overhead there is a generous sunroof to light the cabin.


Under the hood – not much frunk

Sadly, no test rides or drives were on offer. There was also a lack of specific info (power, range, etc.) from the hosts, both at the reveal and the pop-up. Audi is keeping some critical specs to itself for the time being, so we had to be content with walking around the e-tron and trying out seating locations in the interior.

No doubt we will have more from Paris and Los Angeles, including, hopefully, a test drive. Stay tuned.


PB18 garnered a huge amount of attention, as it should


Audi’s Formula E racer dropped in for a charge