The Audi e-tron is an electric SUV for sport, family, and leisure. It is 4,901 millimeters (16.1 ft) long, 1,935 millimeters (6.3 ft) wide and 1,616 millimeters (5.3 ft) high. It offers the spaciousness and comfort of one of the brand's typical full-size models. With a wheelbase of 2,928 millimeters (9.6 ft), the Audi e-tron has ample space for five occupants along with their bags. The total luggage capacity is 660 liters (23.3 cu ft), equipping the electric SUV for major tours.
Powerful performance on any terrain: drive and dynamic handling system
Efficiency, performance and quiet tranquility – the Audi e-tron exemplify the driving experience of a new technological era. Two electric motors drive the electric SUV powerfully, free of emissions, and almost silently, with a system output of up to 300 kW and 664 Nm (489.7 lb-ft) of torque. The maximum drive torque is available within fractions of a second and provides enormous pulling power. The Audi e-tron completes the standard sprint in 5.7 seconds. Top speed is an electronically-limited 200 km/h (124.3 mph).
A new Quattro generation – electric all-wheel drive – provides for superlative traction and handling on any terrain and in any weather conditions. It ensures the continuous and fully variable regulation of the ideal distribution of drive torque between the two axles – within a fraction of a second. In most cases, the electric SUV tends to use its rear electric motor to achieve the highest efficiency. If the driver demands more power than it can supply, the electric all-wheel drive redistributes torque as required to the front axle. This also happens predictively even before slip occurs in icy conditions or when cornering fast, or if the car understeers or oversteers. The dynamic talents of the Audi e-tron are especially apparent at low coefficients of friction, such as on snow.
A key factor for the sporty character and outstanding transverse dynamics is the low and central position at which the drive components are installed. The battery system is optimally matched to the dimensions of the Audi e-tron and is located between the axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. The center of gravity of the Audi e-tron is thus on a level similar to that of a sedan. Axle load distribution is perfectly balanced at almost 50:50.
With Audi drive select, the driver can vary the characteristics of the Audi e-tron between seven profiles depending on the driving situation, road conditions or personal preferences. The system also influences the standard air suspension with adaptive dampers. As a result, there is a vast difference between smooth-rolling comfort and sporty, stable handling. The air springs adjust individually to the road conditions depending on the speed and the driver's preferences, varying the ride height by as much as 76 millimeters (3.0 in). Especially on long journeys, a lower ride height improves aerodynamics, thus increasing the range.
High efficiency: recuperation, aerodynamics and thermal management
The Audi e-tron covers more than 400 kilometers (248.5 mi) on a single charge in the WLTP test cycle. This value is due primarily to the innovative recuperation system, which accounts for up to 30 percent of the electric SUV's range. The electric SUV can recover energy in two ways: by means of coasting recuperation when the driver releases the accelerator, or by means of braking recuperation when the brake pedal is depressed. In both cases, the electric motors function as a generator and convert the kinetic energy of the Audi e-tron into electric energy. At up to 0.3 g of deceleration, the electric SUV recuperates solely via the electric motors. This is the case well over 90 percent of the time. The wheel brakes are involved only when the driver decelerates by more than 0.3 g using the brake pedal. They respond extremely quickly, thanks to a new electrohydraulic actuation concept. Audi is the first manufacturer worldwide to use this concept in a series production vehicle with electric drive. When braking from 100 km/h (62.1 mph), for example, the Audi e-tron can recuperate electric power with a maximum of 300 Nm (221.3 lb-ft) and 220 kW. That corresponds to more than 70 percent of its operating energy input. No other series production model can achieve such a value. The electrohydraulically integrated brake control system decides as a function of the driving situation whether the SUV uses the electric motor, wheel brake or a combination of the two for recuperation – with this taking place individually at each axle. The transition between electric and hydraulic braking is smooth and homogeneous, so the driver does not even notice it. Brake forces remain constant.
Another key factor for the high efficiency of the Audi e-tron is the sophisticated aerodynamics. One highlight of this concept are the optional virtual exterior mirrors – a worldwide first in a series production model. Integrated into each of the mirror supports is a small camera, whose images are displayed on high-contrast OLED displays inside the vehicle. Other aerodynamic solutions go about their business hidden from views, such as the air suspension and the fully lined underbody with the aluminum plate to protect the high-voltage battery. These reduce drag, as does the adjustable cooling air intake. It includes channels for cooling the front brakes and serves as a switching point for the complex thermal management system with the standard heat pump. Benefits of the thermal management system include unwavering high performance even under high load, long battery life, and fast DC recharging. With the virtual exterior mirrors, the Audi e-tron achieves a drag coefficient of 0.27 – a top mark in the SUV segment. With a typical user profile, this value provides for a range advantage of approximately 35 kilometers (21.7 mi) per battery charge versus a comparable, conventionally powered vehicle.
Intelligent solutions for home and on the move: the charging concepts
The large high-voltage battery in the Audi e-tron can store up to 95 kWh of energy and is thus the foundation for the long-range. There is generally no need to stop at charging stations during everyday driving. On long trips, such as when going on vacation, customers can use fast-charging stations to charge with direct current (DC) at up to 150 kW – a first for series-production automobiles. This means that the Audi e-tron is all set for the next long-distance stretch of a journey in approximately half an hour. The electric SUV can also be recharged with alternating current (AC) at up to 11 kW; recharging with 22 kW is available as an option. A proprietary Audi charging service provides e-tron customers with easy access to roughly 80 percent of the public charging stations in Europe. Whether AC or DC, 11 kW or 150 kW – a single card is all customers need to start the process. The procedure will become even more convenient with the function Plug & Charge, which will follow in 2019: The car self-authorizes at the charging station and activates it.
Audi offers various solutions for charging in the garage at home: The standard mobile charging system can be used with either a 230-volt household outlet or a 400-volt three-phase outlet. The optional "connect" charging system doubles the charging power to as much as 22 kW. In conjunction with a home energy management system, it offers intelligent functions such as charging when electricity is less expensive or with solar power if there is a photovoltaic system on the roof. Audi customers can control all charging processes as well as pre-entry climate control via their smartphone with the myAudi app.
Electrification visualized: exterior and interior
The Audi e-tron reflects the fundamental formal idiom of Audi design – translated into the electric age by new, stylistically defining details. Typically for one of the brand's SUV models, the Audi e-tron bears the octagonal-design Singleframe grille with vertical struts. Its corpus is largely enclosed and presented in platinum gray – identifying it as a fully electric model. At the lower edge of the Matrix LED headlights, four horizontal struts create the e-tron-specific signature in the daytime running lights. For the first time, this is integrated directly into the headlights. The expressive design of the sill area with the black inserts visualizes the location of the battery and thus the energy center of the Audi e-tron. At the rear, slats in the wide diffuser call attention to the omission of exhaust pipes. The e-tron logo on the charging flap and optionally the brake calipers stand out in the high-voltage signal color orange.
Colorful accents such as these are also available for the spacious, airy interior, whose design embodies performance, intelligence, and lightness. The large arc, into which the optional virtual exterior mirrors are harmoniously integrated, stretches across the expansive instrument panel to the sculpted door trims, taking in-car digitalization to a whole new level. The center tunnel console rests on open sidewalls. Seeming to float above it is the hand rest with integrated shifter, which the driver operates with thumb and forefinger. Lightness and performance are fused into one.
The entire driver's area has a driver bias, and the two large MMI touch response displays are angled in the driver's direction. They replace nearly every conventional switch and control. Many functions can also be controlled via the natural voice control system as well as the Amazon voice-activated assistant Alexa. With the standard Audi virtual cockpit, the driver can choose between two views that clearly present all information in the form of sharp, high-resolution graphics. The optional Audi virtual cockpit plus offers a third screen that highlights the electric drive system. The comprehensive comfort features paired with high-quality materials and fine workmanship make electric mobility a premium experience.
Top-caliber connectivity: infotainment and assist systems
In the German market, the Audi e-tron comes standard with the high-end media center MMI navigation plus. It supports the LTE Advanced data transmission standard with an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for the passengers' mobile devices. The navigation system makes intelligent destination suggestions based on previous routes, ideally supplemented by the e-tron route planner. This displays a suitable route with the required charging points. Besides the traffic situation, the computation also considers the battery's charge level. The projected arrival time includes any required charging time.
Numerous assist systems make the drive even more relaxing, including the standard efficiency assist. With predictive tips in the Audi virtual cockpit and automatic recuperation, it helps the driver to drive economically. The system uses radar sensors, camera images, navigation data and Car-to-X information to detect the traffic environment and the route. In combination with the adaptive cruise assist, the efficiency assist can also brake and accelerate the electric SUV predictively. Backing the assist systems is the central driver assistance controller, which continuously computes an exact model of the environment. The required data is obtained – depending on the selected options – from up to five radar sensors, six cameras, twelve ultrasound sensors, and the laser scanner.
The Audi e-tron will be the brand's first model to allow customers to add certain functions online whenever the need for them arises. This will be possible from mid-2019 onwards. For example, the LED headlights can be upgraded to matrix LED headlights with intelligently controlled high beams, and assist systems or infotainment extras such as DAB+ digital radio and the Audi smartphone interface can be added.
Initial deliveries: early 2019
The Audi e-tron is being built in the CO2-neutral plant in Brussels and will be arriving in European dealerships in early 2019. The starting price of the electric SUV in Germany is 79,900 euros. In certain markets, customers who have already reserved their car can choose the exclusive "Audi e-tron edition one," a special model in a limited edition of 2,600 featuring special design details and a particularly generous equipment package.