2021 Audi e-tron Problems and Top Issues – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical & powertrain issues are among the top complaints received by vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

When Audi launched its SUV e-tron back in 2018 it announced it was launching an “e-offensive.” The company also announced that by 2025 it will offer 12 vehicles with all-electric drive. Even more boldly, it said it would achieve about 33% of its sales with electrified models.

The e-tron was so popular that before it even saw the light of day there were problems. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) refused to certify the car until changes were made to its software. This resulted in delays and 6-month long waiting lists for customers.

Click on other model years to view more problems:  2019   2022 

Soon after the release of the first 2019 Audi e-tron in the U.S. Lemberg Law reported that many customers were complaining about the SUV’s faulty electrical system. There were also major issues with the exterior lighting, which, of course, is also electrical.

At the time, we expressed concern that an electrical car would have serious electrical problems. We also drew attention to a recall caused by an electrical system problem.

According to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) records, this reportedly affected a potential 1,646 vehicles. It was due to the danger of a high-voltage battery short-circuiting.

Owners of affected vehicles were warned to immediately stop driving their new 2019 Audi e-trons if they saw the warning message, “Electrical system: fault”.

Electrical system complaints also top the list of complaints to NHTSA about the 2021 Audi e-tron. While there are already 4 recalls, the electrical system recall doesn’t appear to apply. But there are complaints that report similar electrical system fault messages.

Most Common Problems

Almost all the problems with the 2021 Audi e-tron are related to the electrical system in some way or another. They even include complaints that have been submitted in other categories.

There are also 108 manufacturer communications to dealers that highlight electrical system problems. These highlight malfunctions, faults, and potential problems that must, by law, be shared with NHTSA.

There are a total of 7 complaints so far about the 2021 e-tron, 4 of which are filed as electrical system problems. Three of these are also categorized as powertrain problems. The list filters complaints by affected components and also includes 1 complaint that refers to an engine problem and 1 about the fuel/propulsion system. Both cite the electrical system as well.

There are a total of 4 powertrain problems, 1 that doesn’t cite electrics, and 3 categorized as being unknown or some other problem.

In reality, those who have complained to NHTSA have multiple complaints.

2021 Audi e-tron Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System:propulsion System:charging:module:accessory
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Fuel/propulsion System
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control

Problems with the Electrical System

The first complaint about the 2021 e-tron’s electrical system is also filed as being an engine and powertrain problem.

The driver had been driving for “several minutes” when the first alert, “ELECTRICAL SYSTEM MALFUNCTION – PLEASE CONTACT SERVICE” was displayed. A few minutes later, a second alert, “ELECTRICAL SYSTEM MALFUNCTION – STOP VEHICLE” displayed.

“I immediately pulled over to the side of the road into a parking lot just before the electric motors shut down completely. This put myself and my dog in danger.”

After the car was towed to a dealership, they said that “coolant had infiltrated the front motor and needed to be replaced. Then other hoses and parts had to be replaced.”

The owner of the Audi had been without the vehicle for 4 weeks at this stage. The SUV was not much more than 9 months old and it had 9,800 miles on the clock. The complaint states that there are many reports of similar issues of coolant infiltrating motors after long road trips or many miles traveled.

“This kills the motor and some owners report horror stories of having no electrical power in the middle of traffic and in the middle of streets.”

Described as “a routine issue with the Audi E-tron Sportback,” the complaint draws attention to the fact that the vehicle has two motors, each costing about $15,000.

“It is likely a very serious and expensive problem that Audi doesn’t want to be known. Loss of drivability (along with other systems) in an EV in traffic or highways is an extremely dangerous and terrible activity, especially for first responders and hazard workers that assist an owner in a vehicle that is very difficult to move when in this state.”

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Powertrain Problems

Another combined powertrain/electrical problem is also categorized as a fuel/propulsion system issue. It also involves malfunction messages. They said, “pull over safely and call for service.”

Once this e-tron stopped, “the vehicle was disabled with no forward or reverse drive possible. The car was stranded close to the middle right of the street. The car had to be towed to the nearest dealership around midnight.”

At the time of the complaint the dealer was still “looking into the problem.” It also states that there had been previous warning messages including:

  • Headlamp malfunction
  • Audi emergency assist unavailable
  • High beam headlight faulty

None of these had disabled the electric SUV.

Another powertrain/electric system complaint describes how the vehicle suddenly jerks and the drive chain disengages. It maintains power and the steering and braking work as the car coasts to a stop.

“This occurred 5 times over the course of 3 miles as I attempted to make my way home, and I would estimate that each occurrence happened at a speed under 10 mph. The car was near full battery charge level when this occurred.”

Again, there were warning messages indicating a variety of warning messages including the electrical system, drive train, collision avoidance, and tire pressure monitor.

And, again, the dealer was unable to diagnose the problem even though many forums quote owners describing the same problem.

Other Problems

Other problems highlighted in complaints include air conditioning failure and a car roof leaking.

The complaint about the leak highlights the potential danger of water seeping into the electrical system of the vehicle. “This is an electronic car and water inside the car due to a car roof leak is unsafe and can potentially cause a fire.”

What to do if Your 2021 Audi e-tron is a Lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Faults, malfunctions, and defects all impact negatively on Audi e-tron owners. Some may be covered by your warranty and your dealer will fix them. But sometimes, defects recur and impact the safe use and value of vehicles. If this happens to you, you might have bought a lemon.

If you think you have a lemon, contact Lemberg Law immediately so that we can assess how we can help you. We have negotiated settlements for many of our lemon law clients in the form of trade-ins, refunds, buy-backs, and replacement vehicles.

In case you aren’t aware, the law says Audi must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases. So, you won’t be out of pocket.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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