The launch of the brand new Audi e-tron continues down a bumpy path due to production issues stemming from a battery supply bottleneck from LG Chem. Previously scheduled to be released at the end of 2018, last week finally saw the official market launch of the Audi e-tron in Europe. But it looks like things aren’t going as smoothly as they should be.
Originally planning on producing just under 300 of the new Audi e-tron SUVs each day, right now Audi’s Belgian factory in Brussels only produces half of its intended daily quota, says German news outlet Bayerischer Rundfunk. Audi has offered no comment from the media regarding the situation, even to E For Electric’s own Alex Guberman.
Tension Between Audi and LG Chem
This is the second time in only a few months that Audi ran into conflict with LG Chem. In February, Volkswagen announced a plan to build three gigafactories for battery cells in Germany. That way German EV producers would not have to remain dependent on a few Asian manufacturers. Unfortunately the move quickly garnered the ire of their current international cell suppliers. LG Chem in particular threatened to no longer deliver its battery cells to Germany, which quickly torpedoed the potential project.
As an additional jab to the EV manufacturing industry in Germany, the South Korean battery factory raised its prices by ten percent.
Now LG Chem seems unable to provide Audi with a steady supply of batteries– sometimes sending too few, sometimes too many. The delays stem from the fact that the production of these cells recently moved from South Korea to Poland. That required re-testing and re-approval of the cells for use all over again.
Delivery Time for Audi e-tron is Five Months
About 20,000 reservations have already been placed for the new fully electric Audi e-tron SUV, held with a $1,000 fee. Delivery time looks to be around 5 months from the order date. Those ordered last year are now starting to be delivered in the European market, deliveries in North America to follow.
Alex Guberman and the Upcoming Audi e-tron
E For Electric’s Alex Guberman is one of the first reservation holders in North America for the Audi e-tron. He makes no secret of the fact that he is still contemplating moving from Tesla to Audi, stating that his own Tesla ownership experiences through 3 cars has been “horrible”. With a 95 kWh battery size, a range of 248 miles, and a starting price of $74,800, the Audi e-tron looks like a direct competitor for the Tesla Model X. It really is no surprise that he is thinking about such a move.
Plus Audi has a deal with Electrify America which provides up to 1,000 kWh of free charging over four years. They also plan on integrating Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant into the vehicle. This allows for things like music playback, accessing weather information, ordering food for when you get home, and even controlling any Alexa-enabled devices that you may have waiting for you there, all from the comfort of your driver’s seat.
Issues go beyond batteries. Mine was completed two weeks ago after spending a month in Quality Control. It still hasn’t been shipped from the factory to Emden. So it would appear that it is not just build issues but also logistics and shipping issues too.