The year 2018 is almost over, yet the Audi e-tron is still a long time coming. An inquiry by electrive.net finds that Audi has to postpone the start of deliveries. Customers are impatient.
There had been signs of a delay of the start of series production of the first large-series electric car from Ingolstadt already in mid-October. At that time, the German news paper Bild am Sonntag reported that deliveries of the e-tron could be delayed by four weeks or even several months.
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Now an Audi spokesman has confirmed to electrive.net that indeed there will be no market launch within the remaining two weeks of this year: “The first Audi e-tron deliveries are expected at the beginning of 2019”. What exactly this means remains unclear.
On the other hand, it is clear that there was a software problem with the e-tron, which is why the electric car has received type approval from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) later than expected, according to our inquiry. Again there had been talks of a “software change relevant to approval” before. The KBA did not want to comment on the matter upon request, instead pointing us “to the applicant himself”. That’s what we did.
The answers, however, were unsatisfactory: “For the harmonious interaction and a flawless customer experience, Audi adapted a partial software at short notice, which resulted in renewed homologation by the authorities”. Audi also stated that “explicitly this issue with approval is not fundamental”. A pilot fleet is out testing and “this homologation process is currently being carried out according to plan”. As soon as this has been completed, the start of advance sales will be announced. By the way, this does not afect the dealer training in Munich, hence why you see various e-tron models on the road these days.
However, the situation is unsatisfactory for the customers who were enthusiastic about the electric car with its 95 kWh battery. After all, more than 15,000 orders have been received for the E-SUV, each worth 2,000 euros, paid in advance. Audi’s original schedule stipulated that the reservation would expire if no purchase contract had been concluded by January 31, 2019. The Audi spokesman left it open whether this would be the case or not, but promised to “find a customer-friendly solution depending on the further course of events”. To this end, Audi says they will contact reservation holders in the coming weeks. This seems to be in order indeed: we have heard several prospective e-tron complaining about the lack of information from the manufacturer.
Update December 17, 2018: Audi has since reached out to us to stress that the e-tron has made it through homologation just at the time of publication. Larger quantities of the electric car will still not be delivered before 2019.
>> Reporting by Peter Schwierz