WORDS Kathy Catton PHOTOS Kallum Harris

We all know that magic isn’t real, but magicians exist nevertheless. And certainly, some magic went into the Audi e-tron. Audi’s all-electric vehicle is a beautiful car to drive. It’s not weird, it drives the same as a standard Audi, it’s just electric. And it’s flying off the tarmac shelves. It’s certainly creating a sense of wonder, just as magicians do.

You can probably relate to my predicament: Saturday morning... kids sports, groceries to buy, pick-ups and drop-offs to navigate in between the flurry of sideline support and slicing oranges. So, with limited time available, I was feeling a little stressed upon arrival at Archibalds on Saturday midday to take the Audi e-tron for a test drive. Momentarily my stress levels were heightened further when Eric told me it was a left-hand drive vehicle I would be driving. Audi NZ needed cars on the ground for staff training and customer test-outs and Germany alone had the answer.

The New Zealand market is all over this five- door SUV, and with 100 all-electric Audi e-trons secured for New Zealand, 80 have already been snapped up. This car suits our country’s hydro- generated power usage. It satisfies our desire to be sustainable, and it suits our feel-good factor when we learn that the car was built in Audi’s first carbon-neutral factory in Belgium.

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So how would I cope with the steering wheel on the other side? Like a breeze. It’s remarkably smooth, comfy, and to state the obvious: quiet. Audi has worked with its usual attention to detail and implemented plenty of noise- cancelling components. Audi was renowned for its quiet cars years before EVs came on the scene. And I was mesmerised. My stress melted away like those vanishing ladies in magic stage shows. It’s understated yet cool, it’s powerful yet environmentally friendly, it’s spacious yet self-contained. For want of a better analogy it’s like driving a magic carpet; not quite flying, but serene and non-polluting.

Sitting between a Q5 and a Q7 size-wise, it’s the first of five models of all-electric vehicle that Audi is releasing in the next 18 months. The future is very much electric. Think back to 1903 when cars shared the road with horses and carts, and now it is conventionally-fueled cars sharing the road with electric vehicles. Within 10 years the horse and carts were gone, and maybe we could say the same fate awaits the fossil fuel cars?

The Audi e-tron does all the things an Audi should do, it just doesn’t have a gearbox, but it’s still able to go up mountain roads and seaside boulevards quite happily. And of course, service and running costs are comparatively lower than combustion engine vehicles.

There are multiple charging options all over the country with the ChargeNet app showing all 139 NZ charging stations. And the Audi e-tron has one of the fastest re-charge capabilities on the market, donchaknow. For those with range anxiety, do not fret. The Audi e-tron has a ‘real-world testing’ range of 417kms. When I got in my test-drive vehicle, the clock said 229kms of ‘juice’ remaining, but such is the joy of the Audi e-tron it charges as you drive and hence by the time we’d driven 20kms around the city we had increased the ‘juice’ tank to 234kms. The idea of me ‘making’ energy is just spellbinding. A trip down to Queenstown might need one stop-off to re- charge, but happily, time to grab a coffee and a bite to eat.

Available to customers of Archibalds from August.

Prices starting from $150,000. Magic doesn’t exist – Audis do.