Audi e-tron will surely be launched in India, says Audi India’s head [Update]

Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head of Audi (India), has said again that the Audi e-tron is coming to India. Speaking to The Times of India recently, he reiterated that the Mercedes EQC rival “is on the cards for India”. He didn’t give a timeline for the launch, though.

It is unclear at this point whether the reason for the delay is internal, like allocation issue from the Brussels plant, or external, like poor demand because of the shrinking of the market. Perhaps the company wants to study the response to the Mercedes EQC before locking its strategy. The EQC is the first electric car from a luxury car brand in India.

There is no doubt on the decisiveness of Audi India on the e-tron launch plan, despite repeated delays. Talking to last month, Hildegard Wortmann, Member of the Board of Management of Audi AG for Marketing and Sales, reaffirmed that the Audi e-tron will be launched in India.

Wortmann shed light on the company’s partially electric range in India – the A6, RS 7 Sportback, A8 L and Q8 (these are equipped with a 48V mild-hybrid system) and indicated that India will further benefit from Audi’s electrification strategy.

Audi e-tron electric car for India – What we know

The Audi e-tron was expected to launch in India in 2020 but the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent shrinking of the luxury car market has reset launch dates. Talking to ETAuto in June in a video chat via, Audi India Head Balbir Singh Dhillon confirmed the launch of the e-tron (without specifying the month).

Last year, we showcased the Audi e-tron to touch base with our existing customers to see whether they will be interested in the car and to get their feedback on the car. This is definitely on the cards and the time is not yet frozen but e-tron is going to come to India.

I can only tell you that not just e-tron, our group is investing heavily into electric cars and you will see internationally there are lot of announcements being made that by this year we will have many electric cars. And all these options are also available for India. The government has been kind enough to allow the 2,500 cars in the import category without homologation. Eventually if the volumes are good enough, we can start producing them locally. This is the strategy that we will use to bring more cars to the country and experiment with these cars. I’m sure these will be successful.

I think across the world, electric cars are going to be a reality. It’s only a matter of time before a country quickly adapts to these cars but I’m sure India will also have a fair share as we move on.

Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head of Audi India.
Audi e-Tron electric car in India
The e-tron was showcased in India at the inauguration of the Audi Gurugram dealership last year.

There were doubts on Audi delaying the electric car launch in wake of the hike in customs duty for importing EVs in the 2020-21 Budget. In the last budget, there’s been a hike in import duties for EVs across the range. While CBU imports will attract a 40 per cent hike (up from 25 per cent), semi knocked down and completely knocked down units will get 30 per cent and 15 per cent charged, up from 15 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

The e-tron gets a 95 kWh battery that is mounted beneath the passenger compartment. The car is driven by two electric motors – one per axle – that produce a combined output of up to 300 kW, helping the e-tron to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.7-second, on to a top speed of 200 km/h. The e-tron has a range of 390 km and with a 150 kW DC fast charger, can be charged up to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes.  

Audi e-tron interior
Standard equipment for the e-tron includes adaptive air suspension quattro all-wheel drive, Audi Smartphone Interface, Audi Phonebox wireless handset charging, MMI navigation plus and internet-based Audi connect infotainment services.

The e-tron gets 20-inch alloy wheels, matrix LED headlamps, adaptive cruise assist, camera-based traffic sign recognition and a 360-degree camera with the Launch Edition. The Launch Edition also includes a black styling pack for the Singleframe grille surround and window cappings and privacy glass extending from the B-pillar rearwards, premium-grade Valcona hide, a panoramic glass sunroof, electric steering wheel adjustment and a comfort remote preconditioning system.