The Riviera di Ponente, where Liguria seems to never end and stretches more and more towards France, in the first days of an autumn that has not yet managed to undermine the summer, is the right place to try cars that aspire to be like a border territory. The Audi Q4 e-tron, the first compact electric coupé SUV from the Ingolstadt-based company, is a threshold to the world of Audi's battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and combines sportiness, elegance, space and zero-emission mobility.
Audi's challenge is to make the driver travel comfortably and without anxiety and to make the pause for electric charging increasingly streamlined, faster, ultimately similar to that for traditional refueling: thanks to the plug & charge function, which also involves the Q8 e-tron, the other car in the family.
Photo story Audi Q4 e-tron - Photos - Ansa.it
To test this new automatic charging technology, the goal from the starting point of Sanremo is about fifty kilometers further east, the service area near the Andora exit, on the Autostrada dei Fiori. Here there are high-power charging stations (HPCs) belonging to the Ionity network, together with Ewiva one of two networks thanks to which Audi customers access affordable tariffs and the charging function that guarantees refueling without the need for a card or app. These two are joined by the Audi HPC network, which by the end of 2023 will be extended to all dealers of the four rings with the aim of covering the entire Audi network, including service partners, by 2025. Currently, therefore, thanks to the Audi charging service, you can access 38 thousand charging points in Italy (500 thousand in Europe), over 2,350 have powers equal to or greater than 100 kW, 900 have the plug & charge function.
The Q4 proceeds silently, with few vibrations and an almost soundproof cockpit that allows, together with the panorama of sky, coast and sea, to relax and enjoy the journey.
The high-powered columns of the two networks are identified thanks to the route planner and once you arrive simply connect the charging cable. The e-tron trip planner system also allows you to see how many recharges are needed to reach a given destination, constantly updating the situation based on terminal status, traffic and driving style. The rest is done by the software that recognizes the cars and allows you to obtain authorization automatically, starting the operation without the need for a card or app. Authentication takes place thanks to encrypted communication to the cable connection and charging can start. To give an idea, in 10 minutes you can restore, at least, 130 kilometers of WLTP (the world standard for car consumption measurement tests) of travel. Invoicing is also automated, with no physical payment instruments. Users simply need to activate the PnC option with the myAudi app and the MmI.
Once the recharge is completed and a more reassuring autonomy has been recovered, the return is on the Aurelia, along the Tyrrhenian Sea heading west. During the week it is a moderately busy seafront, but for cycling enthusiasts they are mythical roads: we pass from the center of Imperia and travel the final stretch of the Milan-Sanremo, with the last junctions of the race, often decisive, where we choose to be led by Q4.
First the climb of the Cipressa, among the olive trees and its gentle hairpin bends, where you can easily appreciate the potential of a car that can sprint from 0 to 100 km / h in 6.2 seconds, thanks to the quattro electric all-wheel drive, twice as fast as a traditional system in distributing torque and based on the action of an electric motor at each axle. Then the descent towards the sea and then back up, for the Poggio di Sanremo, a springboard to launch headlong, with the reference point, for the shooters, of an old telephone booth on the left and a descent of a few sharp curves, towards the finish line of Via Roma. Even on these roads loved by the most daring cyclists, the Audi Q4, still an SUV and with a certain muscular presence, shows agility. But it never tears, the return to Sanremo is pleasant and without worries, inside an enveloping car.
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