Mercedes-Benz might have beaten it to a full reveal, but Audi has become the first big-three German luxury manufacturer to put its all-electric SUV into production, announcing the e-tron has officially started rolling off the manufacturing line.
The first e-tron quattro – a Catalunya Red example, if we're being precise – left the assembly line in Brussels overnight, ahead of the car's official reveal in San Fransisco on September 17.
"Our Brussels plant was comprehensively modernised for the production of the electric car," said Peter Kossler, board member for production and logistics at Audi. "This is the world's first certified CO2-neutral mass production in the premium segment.”
The e-tron will serve as Audi's first mass-produced electric vehicle when it launches, debuting a number of technologies for the brand. It'll offer 150kW fast charging, allowing for 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes, while slimline cameras in place of side mirrors will be optional.
Prototypes and concepts have suggested the car's 95kWh battery will feed dual motors with a combined output of 320kW/800Nm, for a sub-6.0 second sprint to 100km/h.
By way of comparison, the new Mercedes-Benz EQC has 450km of range from its 80kWh battery pack, and hits 100km/h in a claimed 5.1 seconds. Production doesn't start until 2019, though, giving Audi that all-important head start when it comes to actually giving cars to customers.
Owners are able to monitor their car's charge through the myAudi app, which also allows for pre-heating or cooling of the cabin. Similar services are becoming common across the industry, both on electric and internal-combustion vehicles.