Audi e-tron electric SUV begins production

Audi e-tron prototype

The 2019 Audi e-tron SUV, Audi’s forthcoming all electric crossover, has gone into production at the company’s Brussels plant. The full reveal will kick off on September 17 in San Francisco, and it’s said that the Audi e-tron is the world’s first certified CO2-neutral mass production in the premium segment.

Audi will be producing its own battery packs, rather than relying on external suppliers, and has developed the drive system in-house.

There are also some technological firsts. The e-tron will feature cameras where wing mirrors would normally go. Sounds very cool, but not every e-tron will have them fitted. Some will get them as an option.

Audi says that the technology – which is a production car first – will be offered only on “high-end” models.

Audi e-tron mirror cameras

Between the instrument panel and the door, there are OLED screens which show the wing “mirror” detail. Check out the video here:

Audi says it could “potentially improve safety” as the virtual mirrors can actually show three different views: driving, turning and parking.

The new camera enable the pods to be a lot narrower than normal mirrors, reducing the SUV’s overall width by as much as 15 centimetres (5.9-inches).

Thanks to this smaller overall shape, it reduces both drag and wind noise.

Drag reduction

The new camera enable the pods to be a lot narrower than normal mirrors, reducing the SUV’s overall width by as much as 15 centimetres (5.9-inches).

Thanks to this smaller overall shape, it reduces both drag and wind noise.

Not only do the smaller wing pods reduce drag, but there are plenty of other goodies to help cut wind resistance. And these, say Audi, increase the range by around 35 kilometers (21.7 miles).

Audi e-tron drag coefficient

In addition, the adaptive suspension has variable ride height, so above 120 kmh (74.6 mph), the vehicle will drop down, reducing the ride height by 26 millimeters which reduces drag.

The e-tron’s underbody is completely clad with panelling, either with plastic composites, or where the battery lies, with aluminium plate.

But what about where it bolts on? Ah, there’s a trick to that as well. Audi has produced indents where the bolts go, creating a slightly dimpled surface, similar to what’s used on a golf ball, or on some bodyboards.

This helps the air move across it in a far smoother fashion. Then there’s also louvres which sit behind the grille, which will open when things need cooling, but shut at other times, to create less air flow and eddies behind.

The same inlet louvres will allow air to flow through ducts and onto the brakes for when they’re getting a bit too warm.

There are also side air inlets near the front, which also channel air across the outside of the wheels, which have been designed to be more aerodynamic and create less swirl.

Even the tyres have sidewall lettering that is stamped instead of moulded, creating less wind resistance.

All of that has led to a remarkable drag co-efficient of 0.28.

Fast charging

Currently it’s out testing in prototype form, but work on its charging capacity has seen Audi claim that it will be able to handle charging rates of a whopping 150kWh from a DC connection, putting the e-tron ahead of Tesla’s supercharging speed.

Audi e-tron prototype front

Considering its battery is a 95kWh unit, this appears to mean that its charge times will be slashed from what we are currently used to from EVs.

Audi says that the e-tron SUV will be the first vehicle able to charge at 150kWh, and states that it can cover “the next long stage of its journey” from just 30 minutes of charge.

What does that mean in terms of range? Audi’s not saying just yet, but the figure it has released is that it will be able to cover over 400km from the 95kWh battery pack.

Audi e-tron prototype: Charging

Of course, it’s all going to rely on infrastructure, and the company says that around 200 high power charging stations (HPC) will be installed throughout Europe by the end of 2018. These stations are also known as IONITY charge stations, which is a consortium of various carmakers.

Two home charging stations will be available – an 11kW system as standard, or a higher power 22kW system as an option. For comparison, using the 11kW system with a 400 volt three-phase connection will charge the e-tron fully in 8.5 hours.

The Audi e-tron Prototype in Berlin

Inside, the e-tron is said to offer room for five passengers and will received the same build and luxury as every other Audi in production.

About Karl Peskett 431 Articles
A passionate writer, editor and driver, Karl is the go-to man when it comes to four wheels. With stints in television, radio, print and online, Karl has been writing about cars for more than a decade. He drives around 100 vehicles every year and has tested everything from Bugattis to Suzukis. Sometimes on track, sometimes off-road, his focus is on producing objective journalism without fear or favour.

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