The much ballyhooed Audi e-tron Quattro all-electric SUV concept finally made its official debut at the recent IAA in Frankfurt, Germany — potentially bringing some greater insight into the company’s production electric SUV, which is currently slated for release around 2018.
The concept is based broadly on on the second generation of the company’s modular longitudinal matrix toolkit; and features an all-wheel drive, 3-motor system offering a total output of 496 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. A 95 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack powers the setup, allowing for an acceleration of 0 to ~62.1 miles per hour (0 to 100 km/h) in around 4.6 seconds, along with a top speed of ~130.5 miles per hour (210 km/h).
For a somewhat more colorful description of the concept’s performance, I’ll note here the comment from Audi’s new Head of Electric Powertrain, Siegfried Pint, that the concept can “turn like a hunting dog after a rabbit.” (Maybe that’s a German aphorism? Or perhaps just a rich-person aphorism? This is Audi after all — “target audience/market” and all.)
Professor Doctor Ulrich Hackenberg, of the Audi Board Member for Technical Development, commented on the need for batteries for a production vehicle to be produced nearby: “It is very important that the batteries are produced locally. Shipping from Korea is too costly, and complicated. The suppliers will invest in Europe. We need cell production in Europe , and we need it close to the markets where we produce the cars.”
“It’s a big battery, 95 kWh, but for the customer it is necessary to have a range sufficient to fulfill personal mobility demands. If I buy a car, as a customer, I want to be free to go from A to B whenever I like, and, if I change my mind, to be able to take another route. If it is necessary to make a plan two days before, that’s not so good. But with 500 km or a bit more, I think it is possible [to provide that freedom]. I think for the customer, such a car will be attractive.”
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Ultimately, Audi is targeting costs of around $100/kWh. Considering that the company started with costs around $700-$800/kWh, they have come a long way, Dr Hackenberg said, but the $100 target is still a long way off.
The Audi e-tron is equipped with Audi Wireless Charging technology for contactless induction charging. A charging plate with an integrated spool is placed on the parking space and connected to the grid supply. Using its piloted parking system, the Audi e-tron quattro concept accurately positions itself over the charging plate; the charging process then begins automatically. The magnetic alternating field induces an AC current in the secondary spool mounted across the gap in the underside of the car. The AC current is converted to DC by the vehicle’s power electronics and the battery is charged with up to 11 kilowatts of power. The Audi Wireless Charging technology is more than 90% efficient.
The solar roof of the Audi e-tron quattro concept is 1.98 meters (6.5 ft) long—the largest module yet installed in an automobile. It feeds electricity at up to 320 watts into the battery as soon as the Audi e-tron quattro concept is parked or driven in the sun. In the central European climate, it can contribute up to 1,000 kilometers (435.0 mi) of additional range per year.
According to the company, the solar roof generates enough electricity during the summer months to run the auxiliary cooling system (in Central Europe; presumably, the system generates more further south).