The Frankfurt Motor Show is the favorite playground for big automobile giants to showcase their innovation through beautifully designed concepts. Following it’s proud tradition of showing amazing cars with amazing new technologies, Audi was present this year too, with it’s brand new all electric SUV concept, The E-Tron Quattro.
Audi likes to provide oodles to power in their cars, ready to rip apart roads at just a whim of the driver. Sticking true to this philosophy, even in an all electric car, Audi’s E-Tron packs a total output of 320 kW (429 hp). The engine can also be overclocked to an impressive 370 kW (496 hp) & 800 Nm of torque, enabling it to cross the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) mark in just 4.6 seconds.
This doesn’t mean that the car isn’t as efficient as other electric cars. On the contrary, it gives a very satisfactory range of over 500 km (311 miles). Behind such impressive statistics are three smartly designed electric motors, one on the front axle and two on the rear. These engines are mated with a Lithium-ion Battery, which is fitted in the floor, to help provide a low center of gravity to the car & equal weight distribution across both axles. This helps improve the driving dynamics of the vehicle around corners.
Charging such a massive engine would usually take a lot of time. But Audi has placed a special Wireless Charging Technology in the car for Contactless Induction Charging. A full charge of the batteries takes just around 50 minutes. In addition, the car also houses a large Solar Roof, which provides electricity for the drive system battery on sunny days.
Audi has paid special attention to the driving characteristic of this torque vectoring-enabled electric SUV. The car comes equipped with an adaptive air suspension that automatically changes the cars ride height at different speeds to improve aerodynamics. The concept is fitted with an All-Wheel Steering, which gives the car enhanced maneuverability by turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels at low speeds for a smaller turning circle & working in the same direction as the fronts at high speed for better stability. All this combined helps keep the car completely in control of the driving, while at the same time reducing the power consumption.
Another method of improving power consumption is reducing the drag of the car. Audi has done a lot of research using wind tunnels towards this end. On the cosmetic end of this effort, Audi has given the car a sleek look, with a sloping coupe-like roof-line. The vertical separating edges on the side panels & the fully enclosed floor pan with its newly designed micro-structures contribute to reducing drag. Audi has even placed Electronically-Actuated Aerodynamic Elements in the bonnet, the side & the rear that activate at 80 km/h (50 mph). These uniquely designed features combine to reduce the Drag Coefficient of the car to a minuscule 0.25.
The inside of the e-tron has been designed to provide plenty of space for four people and all their luggage. The concept has a massive 615 liters boot. Conventional displays have been forsaken in favor of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Curved OLED, which is a more advanced version of the virtual cockpit that debuted in the TT last year. Even the steering has touch sensitive areas for controlling the functions of the car.
The concept features even more exciting technologies for piloted driving. The car uses radar sensors, video cameras, ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner to compute a complete model of the car’s surroundings in real time. The data collected is sent to the Central Driver Assistance Controller (zFAS), located in the luggage compartment. The computer on the car uses all this data to give the driver a more safe & informed driving experience.
Even though we may think of these features & technologies as a pipeline dream, Audi officials are confident that these may hit the production floor sooner than we think. “Audi will present an all-electric, luxury-class sport SUV in early 2018. The Audi E-Tron Quattro concept provides a concrete foretaste of this,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Audi Board of Management for Technical Development. So all we can do is sit patiently & wait for this beautiful dream to come true.