Abu Dhabi is the home of oil and gas, a shiny city reliant on the income from fossil fuels and which is making token gestures towards a future of environmental sustainability. This includes Masdar City, a sustainable home for up to 50,000 people, construction of which started back in 2009 with a 10MW photovoltaic electricity generation facility. Some might say it’s just lip service, but some might also say the new crop of electric vehicles (EVs) is also lip service too.
Whatever your opinion, the fact is they are coming to SA even as the country endures yet more load shedding. Jaguar is busy with the infrastructure for its I-Pace which will launch towards the end of the first quarter of 2019. Mercedes will bring its EQC in 2020 and BMW has its i4, iX3 and when we spoke to Robert Irlinger, head of BMW i last week, another electric SUV too. Then there’s Tesla, with Elon Musk suggesting in a tweet that it will “probably” have a showroom in SA towards the end of 2019 but industry insiders say the cars are only likely to go on sale in 2022.
Back to Ingolstadt’s offering though and there’s a lot riding on the first EV from the brand that scarred the automotive landscape with Dieselgate. The E-tron brand is not new, the badge already adorns hundreds of thousands of Audi hybrid vehicles around the world, but this is the first pure-electric vehicle to go into production wearing the four rings.