The first Audi e-trons have arrived in Australia, with an advance guard of the all-electric luxury SUVs arriving in Port Kembla over the weekend.
6 March, 2020
The journey begins a world away in a production facility that looks more like the set of a Bond film than an automotive manufacturing plant. From there, it is first a short rail trip, then an epic sea voyage that ultimately brings the brand’s first all-electric vehicle – the Audi e-tron – Down Under.
In fact, the journey begins on the automated production line of the first certified CO2-neutral premium automotive production plant in the world. Audi Brussels was fittingly selected to produce the Audi e-tron, given its impressive credentials, and is the only Audi facility manufacturing the all-electric SUV.
Once completed, the vehicles were covered in their protective wrap for the (in this case) very long journey ahead. From Brussels they were transported by rail to 550km to the port of Bremerhaven. Here they were put onboard the Roll on Roll-off (RoRo) vessel, Höegh Antwerp for their scenic cruise to Australia, some 15,000 kilometres away as the crow flies.
Transported on board the 6500 car capacity vessel Höegh Antwerp, the six Audi e-trons were tended by a total of 22 crew for the next six weeks. The route took them the long way down the west coast of Africa and around Port Elizabeth before crossing the Indian Ocean to Freemantle in WA. But these cars were still a long way from their final destination, leaving Freemantle for Melbourne before finally disembarking in Port Kembla, just over an hour south of Sydney.
None the worse for their long sea journey, the six Audi e-trons arrived on Australian soil without fanfare, but their significance to the brand and to customers here is significant.
Without a doubt one of the brand’s most eagerly awaited arrivals to Australian shores, the all-electric SUV is a definite game-changer, that brings with it the very latest automotive technology in a package that has been praised for its styling and practicality.
Although a heavily disguised Audi e-tron prototype was brought out to Australia in August last year for evaluation purposes, last weekend’s saw the arrival of six production examples of the vehicle, complete with virtual wing mirrors and ready to be homologated for the road.
The model represents a new direction for Audi and is the first of a whole new range of new electric models that will come from Audi over the next few years.
With these first vehicles now safely in the country, the fine tuning can be done for the vehicle’s official Australian launch which is set down for the third quarter this year. From there, the name e-tron is set to become a staple Down Under, with a host of new Audi e-tron models already planned to make the long sea voyage from Europe in the coming months and years.
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