The Audi e-tron continues its global journey, this time taking in New Zealand’s varied terrain and conditions.
Courtesy Audi New Zealand
3 September, 2019
The Audi e-tron continues its global journey, most recently touching down in the ‘land of the long white cloud’, where the brand’s first all-electric vehicle showed off its capabilities on the varied terrain New Zealand has to offer.
Held over two days on New Zealand’s stunning South Island, the drive saw the e-trons tackle everything from sealed roads, to dirt, four-wheel drive tracks and even stretch their legs at the famed Snow Farm (Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds) – the only snow and ice proving ground in this part of the world.
Based out of Queenstown, the drive took in the breathtaking country of the Central Otago region, first on a highway leg from Queenstown to Cromwell to demonstrate just how quiet the large electric SUV is, before showcasing its versatility on the twisting roads of Kawarau Gorge and the Hawkesburn Road, where the handling and roadholding of the e-tron came to the fore on roads not suitable for anything but four-wheel drives.
In this area, New Zealand’s famous topography is very much on show, with challenging climbs and steep descents on unsealed surfaces. But out here in the New Zealand countryside the Audi e-trons were again right in their element, never missing a beat on the often slippery and treacherous surfaces on the way to one of the country’s largest renewable energy sources, the massive Clyde Dam on the Clutha River.
In this area, New Zealand’s famous topography is very much on show, with challenging climbs and steep descents on unsealed surfaces
The Audi e-tron's visit was the first zero-emission ice drive experience in the southern hemisphere
The third largest hydroelectric plant in the country, the Clyde Dam not only provided the perfect back-drop for photography, but in a demonstration, the e-trons were literally connected to the massive renewable energy source and recharged. A very powerful demonstration to say the least.
In another telling demonstration, the e-trons were also coupled to a 1.6-tonne trailer to demonstrate the superior towing capabilities before returning to Queenstown for the night.
The second day heralded more firsts for the Audi e-tron in NZ, this time taking on the slickest surfaces on earth – snow and ice – at the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds. This world-class facility, nestled high in the mountains between Queenstown and Wanaka, is the place that automotive manufacturers from all over the world come to secretly test their vehicles in extreme temperatures and conditions. It is also open to corporate groups and is the home to Audi New Zealand’s ice driving experience, so it was the perfect place to bring this, the latest addition to the Audi family.
In fact, the Audi e-tron's visit was the first zero-emission ice drive experience in the southern hemisphere, and again, the all-electric SUVs were right at home, having seen plenty of action in freezing conditions as part of its extensive testing in the harshest conditions as part of the vehicle’s development program.
The two day event left no one in any doubt as to the Audi e-tron’s credentials, be it on the road or off it – effectively mud, flood, road and snow – all condensed into a two day drive to demonstrate that the all-electric Audi SUV will be right at home in the land of the long white cloud.
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