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Audi Officially Releases Its Newest EV e-tron Sportback, with Headlight Technology as Selling Point

published: 2020-04-23 18:00

Audi’s newest electric vehicle, e-tron Sportback, has finally arrived. The EV is capable of traveling 450 km on a full charge, with a 6-second acceleration time from 0-100 km, thanks to its 400 hp engine. But the true shining star here is undoubtedly its unique digital matrix LED headlights.

The Sportback’s great fanfare among Audi enthusiasts comes as no surprise given that it features one of Audi’s most attractive designs. Originally slated for a spring 2020 release date, the e-tron Sportback is now officially available for sale despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the second model in Audi’s e-tron EV family, e-tron Sportback comes with its fair share of market expectations. In addition to its elegant styling and sports car-worthy performance, the Sportback’s unique matrix headlights have taken center stage ever since the car premiered at the 2019 LA Auto Show.

e-tron Sportback is available in two different iterations: 50 and 55, with a starting price of 70,000 Euros (approximately 2.3 million NTD). Let’s take a look at their differences in the chart below.

What’s more, e-tron Sportback 55 is equipped with a boost mode, which gives it a temporary performance boost. With boost mode engaged, the 55 can accelerate 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds while raising its power to a maximum of 402 hp.

Aside from performance differences, the two e-tron models also differ in terms of DC charging efficiencies. The 55 model, for instance, has maximum DC charging efficiency of 150kW, while the 50 pales in comparison at a mere 120kW. But because the former has a higher battery capacity, it takes about the same amount of time to charge both models, which is about 30 minutes from 0% to 80%.

As we go over the car’s specs, now might be a good time to segue into the main selling point of its headlights. In truth, e-tron Sportback doesn’t really stand out from the crowd in the hypercompetitive EV market; that’s why car manufacturers need to come up with features that differentiate their offerings and attract customer attention. In this manner, Audi’s innovative headlight technology is a rare offering among the new EV models.

This new digital LED matrix is the fruit of many years’ labor by Audi. The way it works involves rotating millions of tiny lenses via a controller chip over 5000 times per second to create various lighting effects.

Not only can these headlights adjust their lighting angle and range to compensate for the road ahead, they can also double as a projector by displaying arrows, warnings, or even games on the ground and walls alike.

Of course, this technology wasn’t invented to merely sate the curiosities of a few select individuals. The reality is that automotive lighting consistently ranks far above other considerations in terms of automotive safety standards in recent years. According to our previous coverage, Tesla’s Model S failed to receive the highest safety rating from U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety precisely because its headlights suffered from positioning-related issues. Subsequently, Model 3 was able to correct this problem and became the safest car among Tesla’s lineups.

Audi’s new headlight design is the perfect example of future-proofing in the world of automotive lighting. This is especially important in a world where EVs and self-driving cars are increasingly common. Since these vehicles have whisper-quiet engines, automotive lighting serves as the key to alerting pedestrians to the vehicles’ presence.

Unfortunately for the Taiwanese market, as of now even the previous-gen model of e-tron remains still in presale. When Taiwanese car buyers will get their hands on the e-tron Sportback is anybody’s guess.

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