Just in time for the premiere of the e-tron Sportback, Audi is introducing a standard technical update for its first electric product line. This combines optimized drive system hardware with software adjustments to improve efficiency. As a result, all versions of the e-tron SUV will come off the assembly line with an extra 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) or so of range. The new models are available now to customers in Europe.
“Every detail counts” – that was the principle that engineers working on the Audi e-tron applied as they succeeded in extending its range yet further. Future versions of the Audi e-tron 55 quattro will be able to drive for up to 436 kilometers (270.9 mi) on a full battery charge (WLTP cycle), which is an additional 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) over its previous capability.
Thanks to a new type of wheel brake, the developers have achieved further reductions in what is known as residual brake torque. This refers to losses that occur as a result of the proximity of the brake calipers to the brake discs. The drive system has also become more efficient. In normal driving, the motor on the rear axle provides propulsion as standard. Now, thanks to a number of optimizations, the front electric motor is almost entirely disengaged and disconnected from the electricity supply. Only when the driver requests more power do both motors spring into action.
Running without power or drag losses, the major advantage of the asynchronous motor concept, is even more effective as a result. In addition, the usable range of the high-voltage battery has increased. The battery in the Audi e-tron 55 quattro has a total capacity of 95 kWh and now gives customers access to a net power figure of 86.5 kWh. All newly produced models will benefit from the technical upgrade. There is no change to prices for the Audi e-tron 55 quattro, which start at €80,900.
Highly efficient thermal management
The engineers have also made improvements to cooling. The highly flexible thermal management system, which comprises four separate circuits, has been revised and now regulates the temperature of the high-voltage components even more efficiently. Volume flows in the coolant circuit have been reduced, which means that the pump uses less power. The sophisticated cooling system continues to guarantee rapid DC charging, a long battery life cycle and reproducible performance even under heavy loads. The standard heat pump harnesses waste heat from the high-voltage battery to keep the interior warm. Depending on the outside temperature, that can boost the Audi e-tron’s range by up to ten percent in customer operation.
Improved coasting recuperation
The innovative recuperation system contributes to up to 30 percent of overall range. The Audi e-tron 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 generators and convert kinetic energy into electrical energy. During deceleration actions of up to 0.3 g – which applies to over 90 percent of such actions in everyday driving – the high-voltage battery is charged by the electric motors, which act as generators.
The recuperation system provides for variable regulation of energy recuperation between both electric motors, both in coasting mode and during braking. The degree of coasting recuperation can be set to any of three stages by means of paddles on the steering wheel, and there are now greater distinctions between the three, which allows the driver the option of a more pronounced “one-pedal feeling.” When braking from 100 km/h (62.1 mph), the Audi e-tron can recuperate up to 300 Nm (221.3 lb-ft) and 220 kW. That corresponds to more than 70 percent of its operating energy input.
Sporty S line
The S line exterior package emphasizes the sporty DNA of the Audi e-tron. The new equipment version is available now and features 20-inch wheels and sport air suspension. The more distinctively contoured bumper is flanked by bigger and more expressive air curtains, which improve air flow. They extend below the headlights, thereby creating a dynamic appearance even from a distance. An S line emblem adorns the radiator grille, while the illuminated aluminum door sill trims feature an #S logo.
The spoiler fitted as standard and a striking diffuser at the rear contribute to the outstanding aerodynamics of the e-tron Sportback. In contrast to the basic model, the attachments on the S line exterior are painted in the exterior body color, including the wheel arch trims, door sills, bumpers and exterior mirrors. The optional black styling package also accentuates the area of the Singleframe, the side windows and the bumper. The exterior mirror housings are also available in black as an option.
Second output level
At market launch of the e-tron Sportback, Audi will be offering a second motor variant. The e-tron 50 quattro, available as an SUV or Sportback coupé, delivers 230 kW of power and 540 Nm (398.3 lb-ft) of torque (combined electric power consumption in kWh/100 km (62.1 mi): 26.6 – 21.6 (WLTP); 24.3 – 21.4 (NEFZ); combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 0). The model can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 6.8 seconds and has a top speed of 190 km/h (118.1 mph). The battery comprises 27 modules, each with twelve prismatic cells. The system is roughly 120 kilograms (264.6 lb) lighter than the one in the sister model and provides 71 kWh of gross power (64.7 kWh net). As a result, the Audi e-tron 50 can cover up to 336 kilometers (208.8 mi) on a full charge in the WLTP cycle, while the Sportback version can reach 347 kilometers (215.6 mi) thanks to its streamlined body. The Audi e-tron 50 quattro is available now starting from €69,100, while prices for the Audi e-tron Sportback 50 quattro begin at €71,350. As a result, both models qualify for the Umweltbonus subsidy offered in Germany.