In-depth look at the all-electric SUV
It was no surprise that Audi chose the SUV silhouette for its first electric car and chose to stay close to conventional car design rather than go as radical as the new configuration allows or as radical as its competitors like BMW and Jaguar have gone. The e-tron uses a modified version of the same MLB platform, that is modular and serves as a base for its other large SUVs like the Q7 and the Q5 and hence leads to the more traditional look. However, the electric car has certain distinguishing design features like the inverted grille-frame, the accents on the sides that emphasize the location of the heart of the car, the battery pack.
In terms of dimensions the e-tron sits firmly between the Q7 and the Q5, with both its wheelbase and length falling between the two large Audi SUVs. It is wider than the Q5 as well but narrower than the Q7.
Even if the e-tron is an SUV, particular attention was paid to the aerodynamics from early on in the development process that resulted in things like the virtual mirrors (more details in box) and a totally flat but dimpled underbody that help give it a coefficient
ACCENTS ON THE SIDES EMPHASIZE THE LOCATION OF THE HEART OF THE CAR, THE BATTERY
of drag of 0.27 that compares well with competition like the Tesla Model X that has a CoD of 0.25 and the Jaguar i-Pace at 0.29.
This low drag coefficient helps give the e-tron that is bigger than a Q5, a range of over 400km on a single charge of the 95kWh battery pack. This 700kg Li-ion battery pack is housed in the floor of the SUV and can be charged up to 80 per cent in under halfan-hour using high power charging and overnight using home electricity and a portable charging unit that comes standard with the car.
The e-tron is driven by two asynchronous electric motors, one at each of the axles. While in the front is a 125kW motor with torque output of 247Nm, at the rear is a coaxially positioned motor that produces 140kW and torque of 314Nm. This gives the car total power output of 265kW and torque output of 561Nm. However, asynchronous motors can increase their power output for short times and this is available to the driver as a boost for 8 seconds whereby system output is increased to 300kW and 664Nm and this output can get the car up to 100kmph in 5.7 seconds with the top-speed limited to 200kmph. As good as its acceleration figures are, Audi also claims that the e-tron has the best recuperation system in a production car with up to 70 per cent of the energy recoverable. Deceleration of up to 0.3g would be
TWO OLED SCREENS DOMINATE THE MMI SYSTEM ON THE E-TRON
done solely by the electric motors and that would be the case in about 90 per cent of braking situations while in the others the system would decide the best combination of recuperation and physical braking.
While in normal circumstances it is the rear motor that drives the rear wheels, the front motor comes into play when additional power is required or when Quattro or 4WD is required. With dual motors, the Quattro system on the e-tron works much faster than any of the other traditional Quattro systems because the only thing that links the front and rear axles is an electronic circuit and much quicker to activate than any other system. This system also works
WITH DUAL MOTORS, THE QUATTRO SYSTEM ON THE E-TRON WORKS MUCH FASTER
predictively while cornering fast or in an evasive or emergency manoeuvre and Audi engineers say that its effects will be best noticed when driving on low friction surfaces.
The e-tron has spacious interiors as the wheels on this modified MLB platform have been pushed further apart and the wheelbase elongated. Two OLED screens dominate the MMI system on the e-tron, with the larger 10.1in screen above the smaller 8.6in one and taking up the chores of most of the conventional switches. Besides, the Audi Virtual Cockpit also features on the e-tron but instead of the gear-shift lever there is a slider to activate forward or reverse movement. With special attention being given to acoustics, a 16-speaker 3D B&O system makes up the sound system while integration with Alexa also makes its way to the car, the Audi e-tron app as well as the home module.
Luggage space at the rear is a huge 660 litres and in addition there is also space under the front bonnet and plenty of storage in the cabin as well. Five radar systems, cameras and sensors make for the most modern of assistance systems like on the new A8 and the e-tron can steer and brake by itself when it needs to in emergency situations as well as to provide as- sistance to the driver.
Although Audi has launched the vehicle and has started taking bookings in USA and Europe, the e-tron will be available in India only by the end of 2019 as Audi is still working out the modalities of its launch. At this time at least, Audi has become the first global car company to announce that it will be launching a global all-electric car in India and feels that there will be enough buyers for it given its over 400km range despite the lack of infrastructure for EVs in India.
1. The cover of the charging port is automated and opensand closes at the touch of a button. 2. The cabin is typical Audi affair in termsof design and dashboard layout
The use of an SUV body style ensures that the Audi e-Tron remains practical offering a generous amount of boot space
Audi has made use of its tried and testedMLB platform for the e-tron. Cabin space is impressive thanks to wheelbase to length ratio being maximised