Audi E-tron

In-depth look at the all-elec­tric SUV

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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


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


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


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

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