With the introduction of the Audi e-tron, the Audi brand presents its first fully electric production model. The mid-size SUV is electrified, performance oriented and fit for every aspect of daily life. In combination with a comprehensive range of available charging solutions for home and on the move, customers can enjoy fully electric driving without compromise. The Audi e-tron is an electric SUV for sport, family and leisure. It is 193 inches long, 76.3 inches wide and 65.5 inches high. It offers the spaciousness and comfort commensurate with an Audi. With a wheelbase of 115.1 inches, the Audi e-tron has ample space for five occupants and cargo. The total luggage capacity is 28.5 cu ft. (57.0 cu ft. seats down), equipping the electric SUV for short jaunts and long road trips.
The Audi e-tron reflects the fundamental idiom of Audi design – translated into the electric age by new, stylistically refined aerodynamically focused details. Consistent with one of the brand’s SUV models, the Audi e-tron bears the octagonal-design Singleframe grille with vertical struts. Its uniquely enclosed grille is presented in platinum gray – identifying it as a fully electric model. At the lower edge of the standard LED headlights, four horizontal struts, reminiscent of a charging status indicators, create the e-tron-specific signature in the daytime running lights. For the first time this is integrated directly into the headlights. Light is used as a signature design feature.
Another important design element is the continuous shoulder line. It extends from the headlights, along the flanks, to the rear lights, giving the Audi e-tron a sense of stature and presence. The expressive design approach of the sill area with the black inserts on the door trim visualizes the location of the battery and thus the energy center of the Audi e-tron. Meanwhile, the roof stretches across the muscular body, which displays clear SUV attributes with its quattro blisters over the wheels and prominent D-pillars. At the sculptural rear, the long roof spoiler and wide diffuser accentuate the sporty look. Meanwhile the four cross-slats in the diffuser draw attention to the absence of tailpipes, another reference to the fully electric drive.
When developing the Audi e-tron, the exterior designers worked in close collaboration with the aerodynamics experts. The result of this attention to aero is an array of high-tech efficiency solutions, such as the regulated cooling air inlet with ducts for cooling the front brakes and the adaptive, speed-dependent air suspension that is standard on the Audi e-tron. The standard-fit 20-inch wheels are aerodynamically optimized and fitted with 255/50 tires. These are especially engineered for their ultralow rolling resistance. The fully clad underbody including aluminum plate to help protect the high-voltage battery likewise plays a vital role in lowering drag. The screw connection points are recessed to deliberately create minor vortices so that the air flows even better. In addition to aerodynamics, thermal management has an important role to play. The standard equipped heat pump uses the waste heat from the electrical components – up to 3 kW of the actual power loss are used for cabin heating and air conditioning as well as cooling the electric motor.
From high-efficiency to high-performance – the particularly appealing component of the Audi e-tron’s drive is its breadth. The two electric motors accelerate the e-tron from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 124 mph. The advantage of the electric motor is felt especially in its impressive off-the-line starting performance from a standstill. The maximum drive torque is reached in 250 milliseconds – a performance worthy of a sports car. US horsepower and torque figures will be available closer to launch. The two asynchronous motors (ASM) of the Audi e-tron are especially robust. Their sophisticated cooling concept is designed to keep the temperature level low. Single-stage transmissions transfer the torque to the axles via the differentials.
In the Audi e-tron, the brand introduces a new generation of quattro drive as standard: electric all-wheel drive. This new system enables the electric SUV to achieve optimum traction in a variety of weather conditions and on challenging road surfaces. In a similar way to the mechanical quattro with ultra technology, the second axle – in this case, the one at the front – can be connected predictively. This happens if the driver requests more power than the rear electric motor can supply, or predictively even before grip noticeably declines in wintery conditions or in dynamic cornering. The electric motors are an ideal power source for the high-precision, ultrafast electric quattro. Towards the limits of driving dynamics, torque vectoring enhances handling by means of brief wheel brake applications. The dynamic talents of the Audi e-tron are especially apparent on a low-friction surface, such as snow.
The battery system in the Audi e-tron is located beneath the cabin and is 2.28 meters (90 inches) long, 1.63 meters (63.6 inches) wide and 34 centimeters (13.4 in) high. It comprises a total of 36 cell modules in square aluminum housings, each of which is roughly the size of a shoe box. They are arranged on two levels, known as “floors” -a longer lower floor and a shorter upper one. At market launch, each module is equipped with twelve pouch cells having a flexible outer skin of aluminum-coated polymer. The battery operates with a nominal voltage of 396 volts and stores 95 kWh of energy. A cooling system of flat aluminum extruded sections divided uniformly into small chambers has the task of maintaining the battery’s high-performance operation over the long term. Heat is exchanged between the cells and the cooling system beneath them via a thermally conductive gel pressed beneath each cell module.
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