The following is a discussion with Western Australian electric vehicle (EV) owner Christian, who recently sold a 2020 Audi etron 55 Sportback launch edition which is mainly what this interview covers.
He currently owns a 2022 Audi e-tron S Sportback bought February 2023 and a 2021 Mini Cooper SE.
EDITOR: I’m going to publish a regular series of articles with the views of Australian EV owners about their purchase, driving, servicing, charging etc experience.
This will help fill an information gap as the majority of electric car news articles are about new car launches and there’s relatively little published about the longer term Australian ownership experience after you’ve paid for your electric car. Hopefully this shared information helps other Aussies make their own EV purchase decision.
Was your electric car bought or leased?
Please describe your purchasing / lease process experience … Easy, Mediocre, Frustrating..?
Easy to buy was a 1 year old demo car but wrong VIN number at purchase caused service bulletin issues until rectified.
New purchase of other cars easy, quick at Audi dealer, just the used car team made multiple mistakes / didn’t know the car.
What has the regular servicing / dealership experience been like?
Etron 55 got its first service at 2 years old and 15,000, it only had 5,000 km at 1 year old as it had been a demo.
Free of charge service included software upgrade that made range indicator less pessimistic and gave a lot more confidence in the car. No complaints Audi Q5 as courtesy car.
How do you regularly charge your car for day to day usage?
- plug in to specially installed faster EV charger at home (set to use solar power or grid, whatever’s available)
- plug into public DC charger faster than 22kW
What has your day to day normal charging experience been like?
At home easy, I either use excess electricity from solar after the house battery is charged or I recently changed to a tariff where it’s 8 cents a kWh between 9 and 3 so then I charge at 7.2kW.
Sometimes I top up at the Audi dealer or on the Chargefox network or Chargefox RAC charger near work.
How do you charge your car for longer road trips on the weekend or during holidays? Do you prefer any particular brand of public fast charger during road trips eg Evie, Tesla, Chargefox and why?
Don’t really go far. For trips down South use RAC / Chargefox at Australind, Busselton and Dunsborough.
Can’t use Tesla ones are far as I know and why pay if I don’t have too. So loyalty to Chargefox because it’s free for the Audis.
However the poor back up (spares/ repair) for the charger at RAC HQ in Perth leaves it with only 1 side working and now with electric cars getting more and more popular you often have to wait.
In that case I’d charge at home the day before.
What’s the farthest road trip you’ve done in your EV and what did you learn from this experience that would be useful for others to know?
500km round trip. Etrons charge quite quickly normally 150kW until 75% and then it starts to tail off.
It gets as low as 70kW before hitting 100% so stopping to top up while grabbing a coffee means it’s a painless process as long as the chargers are working.
Also found a few free destination chargers on Caves Road / Margery’s River, dine and top the car up.
Does your EV have any special features like V2L reverse charging from the car to your portable/home appliances? If yes please share your experience using this special feature
No V2L, though it does have charge ports on both sides. High speed port is on drivers side.
If you have roadside assist included with the car purchase/lease and have had to use it, which company provided the service and what was that experience like?
Not used, Audi provided.
If you have had issues with your car and asked for these to be fixed under warranty, did the car brand do the right thing and fix it without causing you stress?
No issues apart from unreliable wireless car play, tend to just plug iPhone in instead.
What are the 3 strongest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- Prices get near base model Taycan but has higher driving position, and all the options already installed rather than extra cost, variable height air suspension, adaptive cruise, head up display etc
- Looks more like a regular car than some of the interesting looking space ship / jelly moulds out there, drag reduction styling can be quite polarising.
- Hard to place it against other similar priced cars as when I bought there was nothing except used Model X no BMW / Mercedes models available then.
What are the 3 weakest aspects of your electric car compared to other similar price electric cars available in Australia?
- Chassis adapted from an ICE vehicle so range lower at 420km ish.
- About to be superceded by Q8 etron
- Only 1 dealer in WA
Would you buy or lease this brand of electric car again and recommend it to others?
Do you have any other comments about your electric car brand, experience etc?
I’ve just upgraded the Audi e-tron 55 sport to a brand new Audi e-tron S Sportback which comes with 6 years free servicing and charging on Chargefox plus a 5 year factory warranty.
Maybe it has a slight range penalty for the wider arches and 22’’ wheels but what a great looking and fast car.
I also have a Mini Cooper SE classic as well, fantastic dealer service and buying experience. No free charging included with that car but I have a Zappi charger and a Bunnings close by where there is a Synergy free charger in the car park.
If you’re an Australian electric vehicle owner and would like to participate in this interview series by sharing your experience please contact me directly or add a comment below and let me know.