Audi has finally presented it’s fully electric series production model, the Audi e-tron. The full-size SUV combines sportiness and everyday practicality. Its two electric motors together with electric all-wheel drive provide for awesome performance and agile handling. The large high-voltage battery manages a remarkable range of more than 400 kilometres (248.5 mi) in the WLTP driving cycle mainly thanks to its innovative recuperation system. The e-tron can recover energy mainly in two ways, either by coasting recuperation or (when the driver releases the accelerator) or by braking recuperation (when the driver depresses the brake pedal). In either case, the electric motors function as a generator and convert the generated kinetic energy into electric energy. At up to 0.3 g of deceleration, the electric SUV recuperates solely via the electric motors, this is the case well over 90% of the time. The wheel brakes are involved only when the driver decelerates by more than 0.3 g using the brake pedal. They respond extremely quickly, thanks to a new electrohydraulic actuation concept.
Audi is the first manufacturer worldwide to use this concept in a series production vehicle with electric drive. When braking from 100 km/h (62.1 mph), for example, the Audi e-tron can recuperate electric power with a maximum of 300 Nm (221.3 lb-ft) and 220 kW. That corresponds to more than 70% of its operating energy input. No other series production model can achieve such a value. Depending on the driving situation, the electrohydraulically integrated brake control system decides whether the SUV will use the electric motor, the wheel brake or a combination of the two acting on each axle individually for recuperation. The transition between electric and hydraulic braking is smooth and homogeneous, so the driver does not even notice it while braking force continues to remain constant. Combined with a comprehensive range of charging options for home and on the move, customers can enjoy fully electric driving without having to compromise.
The Audi e-tron is 4,901 mm in length (16.1 ft), 1,935 mm in width(6.3 ft), 1,616 mm In height (5.3 ft), and a total luggage capacity of 660 litres (23.3 cu ft). It is expected to offer a spaciousness and comfortable cabin, with a wheelbase of 2,928 mm (9.6 ft). With its current dimensions, it sits somewhere between the size of an Audi Q5 and a Q7 and is a 5 seater only. Audi India is expected to offer the e tron as a niche product that is not intended to target a mass market audience but rich customers that are also quite tech savvy. Prices are expected to easily cross the Rs. 1 crore mark keeping in mind the subsidy of Rs. 1.5 lakh available for electric cars. The Audi e-tron comes mated with two electric motors that give it an emission-free 400 bhp of power and 664 Nm of torque. Since all this torque is available from the moment you depress the accelerator, the e-tron sprints from standstill to 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds, while top speed has been electronically limited to 200 km/h.
With Audi’s new drive select, drivers can choose from up to 7 different driving modes depending on road conditions, driving situation or just personal preferences. The system adapts and influences the stand air suspension that also comes with adaptive dampers, managing to create a clear difference between a smooth ride and sporty yet stable handling. The Audi e-tron archives this feat by letting the pneumatic springs individually adjust depending on the road and varying ride height by up to 76 mm and lowering the ride height if needed thereby improving aerodynamics over long distances. To further enhance the aerodynamics, Audi has given this the optional virtual exterior mirrors which are also a first in a series production car. They are small cameras that are integrated into each mirror whose images are displayed on a high contrast OLED display inside the SUV. The underbody too has been given an aluminium plate to protect the high voltage battery and reduce drag. The adjustable cooling intake channels air to the front brakes and works as a switching point for the complex thermal management system along with the standard heat pump.
With an already quiet cabin thanks to the electric motors, the e-tron is offered with the optional Bang & Olufsen 3D Premium Sound System which helps lends it additional acoustic quality. The Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System is a highly efficient amplifier as it drives 16 loudspeakers with an output of 705 watts. A small loudspeaker in each A-pillar reproduces the spatial dimension of height while the music unfolds exactly how it was recorded without any artificial effects. Behind this technology is an algorithm that Audi developed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen. It takes stereo or 5.1 recordings, computes the information for the third dimension and conditions it for the 3D loudspeakers. Audi has given the e-tron the much loved its virtual cockpit, which can be operated from the multifunction steering wheel. Its display benefits from the very high resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels full HD display and a set of new e-tron specific graphics. Customers who select the optional Audi virtual cockpit plus can call up an additional view that puts the power meter right in the centre. The head-up display complements the displays as an option. It projects important information directly onto the windshield meaning the driver always has everything in view.
The e-tron is set to go on sale in the USA and Scandinavia by 2019 while it’ll be launched in India by the last quarter of 2019. Although this hasn’t been completely decided since Audi will need to come up with a solution for charging their SUVs in India. Our country hasn’t exactly been investing in infrastructure that supports EVs but Audi plans to bring the e-tron anyway having faith in its supposed sufficient range for India. Instead of setting up a network of chargers, Audi plans to bundle the charging hardware along with the e-tron. It boasts of a charge time of 30 minutes to 80% with the help of a 150 kW DC fast charger. While a standard 240V AC wall charger should manage to fill up the battery to 80% in about 8 hours.