Audi brings electric luxury

By Francesca Gardner

9 November 2021

Electric cars are about to be more prevalent on Grand Cayman's roads.

Arch Automotive, the authorised importer for Audi in the Cayman Islands, has ordered 30 brand new Audi e-tron cars, with some arriving last month.

The Audi e-tron is the first full-electrical model from the brand that is famous for its logo with four interlocking rings. The sporty SUV combines the space and comfort of a typical luxury class automobile with a range suitable for everyday use, catapulting the driver into a new era with the electrical all-wheel drive.

“Forward-looking, innovative and electric — the next step into the future,” says Craig Arch, who likes to refer to himself as the "crew chief" of Arch Automotive and its Camana Bay location called Audi Cayman Islands.

Getting the popular e-trons wasn't an easy task. Arch says the long and intensive process took almost three years from start to finish.

“Being a part of the Latin America, Central America and Caribbean region, we don't always receive the new products when they are first introduced," he says. "But after many years of sending our proposals to the Audi headquarters in Germany, we were finally approved [to retail the e-trons] in September of 2020."

The preparation period was extensive as there was a need to bring the company’s infrastructure and training up to meet the specific standards in order to retail the Audi e-tron. The requirements included purchasing new tools to service the e-tron, chargers for both AC and DC charging, Red Cross training and medical exams for the technicians on-site. Extensive virtual training was conducted prior to receiving the cars and now the company's lead technician must travel to Panama and Germany for final certification to become a high voltage technician.

SUSTAINABLE BENEFITS
Although the process was long and arduous, Arch believes consumers will deem it worth the wait when they see the 2022 Audi e-trons.

The e-tron SUV, which was first delivered in 2019, is Audi's first fully electric SUV. The 2022 e-tron SUV boasts an aerodynamically optimised body that is designed for efficiency. “Its true spirit lies in its performance," Arch says. "No question — the Audi e-tron delivers an exhilarating experience behind the wheel.”

Now that Arch Automotive has the ability to properly service the vehicles, customers can have confidence the cars can be maintained properly and serviced promptly.

"It is more important than ever to have a dealer who is available on island to handle any needs that may come up on new models, especially electric vehicles,” Arch says.

The e-trons can be charged at any public charging station on the island, including those in Camana Bay. Currently, Camana Bay has seven charging stations in three different locations including two on the second floor of the Solaris parking garage at the top of the ramp, two in the basement of Forum Lane garage and three at the Foster's parking lot.

Home charging stations using a regular plug-in also work when charging these cars.

Audi sales representatives with the new electric car
Craig Arch, left, and Joseph Westin of Arch Automotive stand next to an Audi e-Tron. Photo: Alan Markoff

GROWING POPULARITY
From 2019 to 2020 alone, there was a 40% increase of electric car models available worldwide, with a total of 370 models on the market. While Europe and China lead the way in electric vehicle sales, the demand is starting to grow in the United States and more recently starting to gain popularity in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Locally, Grand Cayman has seen a slow but steady growth of electric cars for the last six years. While some dealerships bring in few electric models, most residents on island will go overseas to to purchase luxury brands such as Tesla, and then ship them in themselves. The arrival of the e-trons allows customers the ability to buy a warrantied luxury electric car right here on Grand Cayman from an authorised dealer that has the ability to service the vehicles.

With their growing popularity in recent years, it is easy to think of electric cars as something relatively new. In fact, the first electric vehicles date back to the 19th century when horse and carriage was a main form of transportation.

There have been many and vast improvements on electric car technology since then and now in the 21st century, electric cars are no longer just the future of transportation, but also very much a part of today right here on Grand Cayman.

Prices for the Audi e-tron SUV range from CI$62,750 to CI $69,750. For more information, contact Craig Arch or Brand Manager Joseph Westin at Arch Automotive at 943-2834 or email audisales@archauto.ky.

This article was first featured in the November 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.

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