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Motorway test Audi E-Tron / Tesla Model X: who will go on?

Motorway test Audi E-Tron /Tesla model X
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For the motorway comparison of E- Tron and Model X became that extensive electric vehicle measurement program from auto motor und sport expanded. Since e-cars are driven differently than cars with combustion engines, we record their test consumption on our cautiously driven e-lap, which includes urban, rural and motorway routes. The two electric SUVs don’t give themselves much in terms of consumption under such conditions: the Audi E-Tron had to drive 24.8 kilometers for 100 kilometers, the T esla 25.0 kWh can be recharged. The charging losses are included in this measurement. In other words, the cars actually sucked around 15 percent less from their batteries. The charging losses are very similar in both vehicles and the internal consumption is correspondingly close: According to the on-board computer, the Tesla consumed 21.7 kWh, the Audi 21.8 kWh. The matching ranges: the Audi covers 380 kilometers, the Tesla with its larger battery 428 kilometers. So much for the standard program.

Achim Hartmann
Maximum 130 km /h on the motorway, four drivers alternating. That guarantees balance!

Can electric cars also travel on the Autobahn?

Model X and E-tron were also possible on a 300-kilometer long route, most of which led on motorways. We drove with a maximum of 130 km /h on unlimited sections. Four changes of driver and position of the cars ensured the same conditions for both.

The result: With 27.8 kWh /100 km, the Tesla is cheaper than the Audi with 29.5 kWh /100 km in terms of travel consumption. Again, there is the difference between the on-board computerspecified and to observe the real power consumption. The Audi shows 25.7 kWh /100 km on the display, the Tesla 23.6 kWh.

How far can the electric cars really get?

But how far could you get really come with such a driving profile? We couldn't drive the e-cars empty on the autobahn and stay where they were. Instead, after the 300 km drive, we plugged both cars into our wall boxes with integrated electricity meters and measured how much energy they needed to recharge the batteries: 88.5 kWh for the Audi and 83.4 for the Tesla. We put this consumption in relation to a full stroke, i.e. the amount of charge that we needed to fully recharge an empty battery. We ran the batteries empty on a closed test track. With the values ​​determined in this way, travel ranges of 318 km for the E-Tron and 384 km for the Model X result.

The real range is only theoretically available

Why so complicated? Tesla gives 100 kWh battery capacity, Audi 95 kWh - battery capacity through consumption gives range, right? Unfortunately, no. However, all e-cars leave reserves so that the batteries are not deeply discharged and damaged. The manufacturers do not specify how much reserve the battery will keep.

Our expert Alexander Bloch takes a different approach in the video to arrive at the travel range: He concluded the net capacity based on the differences between on-board computer consumption and recharged amounts of electricity and the resulting charging losses the batteries. This gave him 322 kilometers for the Audi and 393 kilometers for the Tesla - a manageable difference.

Why is the Tesla going further?

The differences in battery capacity between the two comparison cars are too low to explain the difference in range of more than 65 kilometers. Rather, the cause is consumption. It is noticeable here that the E-Tron only draws more power from its slightly smaller battery when traveling. How come? The drive differences are manageable. Both SUVs each have two asynchronous motors with high to very high (Tesla) power.

The consumption of electric cars also depends largely on the driving resistance. The most important are rolling and air resistance. The former depends mainly on weight and tire sizes. The two full-size SUVs don’t give each other much, even if the Audi weighs around 100 kilograms more, which is remarkable given the better space available in the Tesla. But its hour strikes especially when it comes to wind slippage. At 0.24, its drag coefficient is very low for an SUV. The Audi with its steeper front and the longer tail, however, only manages 0.28. In order to determine the air resistance, these values ​​have to be multiplied by the cross-sectional area(see video). Although the Audi is less high and wide and therefore presumably has a smaller frontal area, its aerodynamic drag is higher than that of the Tesla, of which the manufacturer does not name the frontal area.

Why does the heavier Audi consume less in town?

The driving resistances explain the additional consumption of the Audi when gliding quickly on the motorway. On the mixed lap with a higher proportion of cities or country roads with more braking and acceleration, the Audi does not consume more than the Tesla, although it is heavier. Because Audi attached great importance to the ability to recuperate. Delays of up to 0.3g, i.e. almost everything that everyday life is familiar with, can be mastered without its braking system. This means that the kinetic energy of the rolling E-Tron converts the electric motors, which then function as generators, back into electricity. A sophisticated control and networking of the on-board computer calculates the topography, routing and vehicles ahead using distance sensors in recuperation processes. The E-Tron achieves a recuperation output of up to 220 kW. This corresponds to the engine output of a VW Golf R. Audi states that up to 30 percent of the range of the E-Tron comes from recuperation.

Achim Hartmann
Both can fast-charge . The Tesla can also be limited to certain charging capacities.

The charging time is the same for both

The Audi E- Tron can charge at 150 kW fast charging stations, for example from Ionity, while Tesla's charging stations create 125 kW. In theory, both cars need around 12 minutes to recharge 100 kilometers - the Audi consumes more, but can recharge it faster (see video). In practice, the Tesla's 65 km longer range is of course more important when traveling. You can read the comparison test in auto motor und sport 8/2019.> You can download the magazine from 28.3. buy here .


As long as theThe charging infrastructure and speed can still be expanded, the suitability of the electric car to travel depends primarily on the size of the battery and consumption. The largest batteries currently have a capacity of 100 kWh, while the Audi E-Tron weighs 95 kWh and weighs 700 kilograms, making the car a total of 2.6 tons. From this point of view, reducing consumption seems to be the more sensible way of increasing the range.

Audi concentrated on recuperation for this; the large mass is less important because it also benefits the recuperated kinetic energy. Tesla has designed its cars to be particularly streamlined and thus reduced the driving resistance - with better results for long journeys.

A car with the recuperation technology of the E-Tron and probably similarly good drag coefficient as the Model X brings Audi this year: the E-Tron Sportback has the same components under its sleek SUV coupé body as the 'normal' E-Tron.

Technical data

Tesla Model X maximum range Audi E-Tron 55 Quattro
Basic price 85,990 € 79,445 €
External dimensions 5052 x 1999 x 1684 mm 4901 x 1935 x 1629 mm
trunk volume 2487 l 660 to 1725 l
Power 326 kW /443 PS at 6000 rpm
Top speed 250 km /h 200 km /h
0-100 km /h 5.1 s 5.8 s
Consumption 5.6 l /100 km
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