Follow along with our Project e-tron adventure on Instagram via #projectetron
As mentioned in previous installments of Project e-tron, we didn’t take the usual route in reserving an unbuilt e-tron. We found one in the system and then placed our reservation around that, which meant our new car arrived significantly faster than usual. It seemed the car had already arrived at the dealer and we hadn’t yet logged onto Audi’s e-tron specific charging support page on Amazon.com.
Home Charging Prep
Being one of the first e-tron customers from our dealer Audi Mechanicsburg, we learned that Audi’s program with Amazon hadn’t quite been completed in our region of Pennsylvania. As of this writing, there isn’t yet an Amazon program electrical contractor doing installations in our area. Left to our own devices, we chose a JuiceBox Pro 40 Smart Electric Vehicle Charging Station rated at 40 amps (Level 2) and requiring only a 240-volt outlet. Our usual electrician was able to install the outlet in our garage; conveniently next to the home’s electrical box. All-told we were under $1000 installed and are now charging at over 9 kW… nearly double what we find at most public Level 2 charging stations. Not bad.
The JuiceBox also comes with an app. This allows you to control charging separately from the car’s own My Audi app functionality, and also shows you real time charging speeds and tracks your charging history when attached to the JuiceBox unit.
Charging on the Run
Once we had the car home, the learning process continued. As with the installation of our JuiceBox charger, learning the ins and outs of charging is a big part of the transition. There are any number of charging networks; most using apps. We downloaded PlugShare – a charging community, with member submitted charging locations, ratings, specs, photos, updates on condition and more. Given how quickly the charging network is growing, that community is most useful. We also added charge network specific apps like Electrify America, EVGo and ChargePoint.
For the most part, we mainly charge in two places. Free charging at work is the main location, and then we use the charger in our home on the weekends and as needed.
The only time we charge at public charging stations is when we take road trips. For the most part, we find there are chargers nearly everywhere, but the trick is charge speed and also the comfort or convenience of the charging location. A fast 150 kW charger will have you charging to 80% in just over 30 minutes, whereas a slower 50 kW is about a percentage point a minute, and a Level 2 is only really helpful if you have a few hours to kill… like a workday or an overnight stop.
On a road trip, it pays to plan ahead; scouting charging locations by using apps. Choosing a hotel with Level 2 chargers may neutralize most of your need to stop. Also, 30-40 minutes at a convenience store without a comfortable place to pass time may be less preferable than 90 minutes in a Zen location like the Gettysburg Battlefield Park Welcome Center in Pennsylvania, or the quaint town center of Benington, VT.
In a lot of ways, charging changes your outlook. Where once my main focus was to take a road trip down the fastest highway and with minimal stops, the e-tron is forcing me to think a bit more. Granted, I don’t relish added time in a WalMart parking lot, but getting fresh air hiking the trails in Gettysburg, or strolling through shops in Benington, have proven worthy and enjoyable breaks from the stress of a long trip. That fact that new charging stations seem to open up weekly along these routes doesn’t hurt either.
The Basics from Audi Accessories
As soon as the e-tron arrived, there were a few accessories we simply had to have. Foul weather floor mats and trunk liner were a must for protecting the car’s insides. Though there are aftermarket options in these cases, we always go for the setup offered by Audi Accessories. Proper fitment is nice, as is molded e-tron branding and accent lines that complement the stitch patterns on the seats.
Less functional, but still very cool was the addition of branded puddle lights. We went for the clean Audi ring logo. This quick swap into the door with a simple trim prying tool had us projecting Audi rings into puddles in moments.
While at the dealership, we also picked up an Audi Accessories trailer hitch plug, which protects the hitch from the elements. We’ll also need to figure out harness plans if we want to try to tow, but we’ll leave that for another day.
Products Installed Include:
JuiceBox Pro 40 Spart Electric Vehicle Charging Station via Amazon – LINK
All-Weather Floor Mats (Front): Part # 4KL061221041 – LINK
All-Weather Floor Mats (Rear): Part # 4KE061511041 – LINK
All-Weather Trunk Liner: Part # 4KE061180 – LINK
Audi Puddle Light Beam – Rings: Part # 4G0052133G – LINK
Trailer Hitch Cover – Rings: Part # ZAW092702B – LINK