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Frankfurt show: Audi previews e-tron electric SUV

Range finder: New charging technology and triple motors are just part of the e-tron quattro’s bag of tricks to eke out huge electric range.

Audi e-tron concept SUV to go on sale in 2018, will have 500km electric range


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15 Sep 2015


AUDI has announced that it will release a production version of its new electric e-tron crossover concept in 2018, promising a vast range and performance from a host of as-yet unproven technologies.

Powered by a trio of electric motors (one on the front axle and two on the rear) the e-tron quattro SUV – colloquially known as the Q6 – has an output of 370kW and more than 800Nm in an overboost mode, or 320kW in regular conditions.

Audi also says that the e-tron quattro can run for more than 500km on a single charge, or almost five times as long as any currently available EV.

“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,” said Audi board member and head of technical development Ulrich Hackenberg. “It combines driving pleasure with great range, an expressive design and excellent comfort.”

The e-tron quattro can zip silently to 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, and onto a governed top speed of 210km/h. A sophisticated management system will accept various inputs from the driver around the amount of regenerative braking and the type of driving, managing them as efficiently as possible.

It will even direct more torque to the rears and apply torque vectoring to all four wheels during spirited driving. Adaptive air suspension and all-wheel-steer also feature on the concept.

A large, flat 95kWh lithium-ion battery array that’s estimated to weigh 650kg nestles along the floor of the e-tron, giving the SUV its long theoretical range.

High-voltage 150-volt DC charging can refill the battery in as little as 50 minutes, while Audi has also developed a wireless induction charging system to complement the e-tron.

The induction charging can be used in conjunction with a driverless parking system that can move the e-tron to an induction charging space remotely, before moving it off to a regular parking spot once charging is done in order to free up the space. It can also place the car in a sunny spot to take advantage of a roof-mounted solar array.

The owner can then summon the driverless machine to return to the spot where he or she dropped the car off.

“This makes it perfect for everyday driving. It’s a holistic premium driving experience, which is typical of Audi," said Dr Hackenberg.

The e-tron’s 4880mm length puts it on par with the Q5, though it is much wider at 1930mm. At 1500mm high, it is quite low-slung, while retractable cameras replace the exterior mirrors which Audi says “are a foretaste of the future of driving”.

The interior is designed around four passengers, and can also carry 615 litres of cargo. A pair of touchscreens complements the OLED dash and centre console, allowing the driver to gesture or touch to activate lighting and other car functions.

The two rear seat passengers also score OLED screens, which they can use to adjust the climate or access infotainment, or even exchange data with the driver.

As might be expected, the e-tron quattro is completely ready for autonomous operation, or piloted driving in Audi nomenclature.

The e-tron quattro is expected to debut in 2018, and is part of a renewed push by the wider Volkswagen Group in the direction of hybrid and electric drivetrains.

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