We expected the production version of Audi's to be one of the big debuts of the , but the automaker has done something, well, more oblique. Audi has descended on Switzerland with part of its E-tron prototype test fleet wrapped in conspicuously designed black-and-orange camouflage and set them loose on the streets of Geneva.
Beneath the special E-tron camo -- which is designed to attract attention with its orange highlights while hiding details of the SUV's design -- the prototypes are powered by a trio of electric motors outputting a combined 320 kW (or about 429 horsepower). Together, they form an electronic version of Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system. Powering those motors is a battery pack that can be recharged at fast-charging stations in just 30 minutes with a rough-estimated range of about 310 miles per charge.
The prototype stunt around the Geneva auto show is designed to attract attention to the approximately 250 E-tron SUV prototypes that Audi will be running through over 5 million kilometers of public testing on four continents over the next few months leading up to the debut of the production car later this year. Tests will occur in a wide range of climates using a gamut of charging standards to evaluate real-world viability.
And, of course, Audi will be happy for all of the social media buzz generated by the eye-grabbing prototypes rolling around Geneva and beyond. #etron, anyone?
The actual production car will be revealed later at an event in Brussels in August. That's when and where we expect to learn more precise details about the E-tron SUV, such as more specific range, performance, pricing and packaging. Deliveries for the 2019 model year EV are expected to commence by the end of 2018.