Electric Cars

Audi begins public E-Tron test in Geneva with eye-catching prototypes

In all, Audi will test 250 examples of the upcoming SUV, racking up over 5 million total kilometers over four continents.

Audi

We expected the production version of Audi's E-tron electric SUV to be one of the big debuts of the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, 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.

Audi's E-Tron rocks its camo at the Geneva Motor Show.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

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.