Electricity. It managed to crawl up under our skin in such a way that we can’t manage a day without it. It powers everything we use on a daily basis, from our smartphones to our houses. In recent years it even started giving our cars life, with them being partially or fully electric. When it comes to cars, Audi decided it was time to use their extensive knowledge gained through racing with hybrid prototypes and stir up the global EV market with their first ever consumer-grade EV, the Audi e-tron Quattro.
Looking at the aggressively styled SUV, there’s nothing major that’ll give out it’s fully electric secret. Personally, I find the edgy styling of the Audi e-tron Quattro rather pleasing even though I’m not a fan of SUVs. Especially if it’s combined with the retro turbofan wheels, but sadly that probably won’t make it into production.
The Technology Under The Skin
What’s hidden underneath the attractive skin of the Audi e-tron Quattro prototype is a refined purely electric powertrain, packed with some impressive tech. Rapid torque is courtesy of two high-power electric motors, one on the front and the other on the rear axle. Splitting the ample amounts of torque is Audi’s renowned Quattro system, albeit in electric trim, designed specifically for the e-tron model.
Keeping the motors turning is the massive 95 kWh battery, strategically placed under the passenger compartment. The rather heavy low-slung battery keeps the center of gravity low and centered, aiding the handling characteristics of the electric SUV. The sizable battery is engineered to withstand back-to-back rapid accelerations and provide long range. Battery overheating is unknown to the Audi e-tron Quattro, as there is a high-flow liquid cooling system keeping the temps under control.
As with all electric or hybrid vehicles, the EV features a regenerative braking system. Apart from helping you save your brakes, the regeneration accounts for 30% of the range and 90% of the braking. While at standstill, the 95 kWh can be charged via a 9.6 kW home-based AC charger or using the widespread 150 kW DC fast charge stations. The fast charge can pump up the battery levels to 80% in about half an hour, while the home charger will give you a full charge overnight.
Safety is a major concern when it comes to passengers. In order to give it’s passengers the highest levels of safety, Audi’s engineers came up with a special frame technology, improving protection and sturdiness. The frame also helps protect the crash tested battery, preventing mishaps.
The interior features vast amounts of leather, lots buttons and screens and comfortably seats up to five people while keeping the noise levels down. You all know that tires can be noisy and this being an EV, there’s the annoying buzz of the motors. Well, Audi’s sound engineers tackled the noise problems using thick soundproofing, dual pane glass and special sealing technology, making the interior of the luxury SUV nearly silent.
Even though the Audi e-tron Quattro is still in it’s prototype phase, it’s nearly ready for production. 250 examples are racking up miles around the world in order to test durability and longevity. It’s also the perfect way to sort out any possible bugs that may occur in the abundance of computers that monitor over the car. In total, the 250 test mules racked about 5 million kilometers in the most extreme of conditions.
The Audi e-tron Quattro Is An Important Milestone For Audi
The prototype is a stepping stone for the future of Audi and transportation in general. In a recent press interview, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, said that “Audi sets an important milestone for the company’s future with its first purely electrically powered model.”
He noted that in the year 2020, Audi will have three EVs in it’s lineup; the Gran Turismo, the production version of the e-tron and one more model destined for the compact segment. ”We will be launching more than 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2025 – spread across all segments and concepts.”, Rupert mentioned.
I can appreciate all the innovations and tech that goes into an EV, but somehow I don’t look forward to the fully electric future that’s bound to happen. However, I do love Audi’s enthusiasm and the ideas they incorporate in their models, especially the concepts and prototypes. I wouldn’t be surprised if the e-tron replaces the Q7, as it reminds me of the current gen Q7 and could easily pass as a 2020 version of it.