Audi Showcases A9 e-Tron Quattro to Rival Tesla
In September, Audi showcased the all-electric e-Tron Quattro concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is a sleek SUV that is expected to go into production sometime in 2018. It will feature three electric motors, quick charging and an incredible range of 310 miles when fully charged. Tesla’s Models S and X, which have led the way in electric and autonomous vehicles, will soon have to face some serious competition.
The e-Tron Quattro SUV boasts a bold new design which would suggest that future electric car models from the German car maker will have a distinctive, aerodynamically optimized look. The vehicle has been developed on the back of the latest developments in aerodynamics, lightweight materials, electronic drive systems and battery technology. All of these combine to give a level of performance that challenges the fastest and most powerful of Audi’s current lineup of petrol and diesel SUVs.
Overview of the Audi A9 e-Tron Quattro
The German luxury car maker, already an established global marquee, is now taking upstarts like Tesla more seriously, with the development of a range of vehicles to compete with the Model S and Model X. While the e-Tron Quattro SUV concept seems to have been developed to compete directly with the Model X, Tesla has much more to worry about if the news coming from Audi is anything to go by.
It would appear that Audi could also have a new vehicle in the works that will rival the Tesla Model S. Currently under development is a new, all-electric sedan that is known as the A9 e-Tron which is due to be launched by 2020, according to Autocar magazine.
This model is likely to be similar, technology-wise, to the SUV and is set to be positioned as the Audi flagship, taking over the mantle from the current A8. Although Audi is yet to issue an official confirmation of the A9 e-Tron sedan, the company’s CEO Rupert Stadler is quoted in Autocar saying that the company has plans to have at least three electric vehicle models in production by 2020.
The A9 e-Tron is likely to be built on the same platform as the electric SUV, which could get the name Q6 e-Tron when it finally goes into full production within the next two years. The sedan could also have the same tri-motor power train, with one motor for the front wheel and two for the rear.
Similar to the e-Tron SUV Concept Car, It Will Probably Have Autonomous Driving Capability
The e-Tron SUV concept car features piloted driving technology. This uses a video camera, radar sensors, a laser scanner and ultrasonic sensors to collect information relating to the vehicle’s environment in order to create a real-time model of the car’s surroundings. Audi expects to achieve ‘Level 4’ autonomy with the A9 e-Tron, which means that the car will be able to drive itself most of the time. Audi already uses a lot of this technology in its newer models, so the e-Tron SUV and A9 are likely to offer a more advanced self-driving system.
Side View Mirrors Replaced by Cameras
The new range of electric vehicles to be introduced by Audi has curved displays that are built into the forward section of the doors. These displays are to let the driver know what is going on around them. Although what is on the concept vehicle is not guaranteed to be a feature on production cars, it is a fact that most major car makers are starting to experiment with these new types of mirror designs.
For example, General Motors is currently working on developing a digital mirror for the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevy Bolt which uses cameras to stream what is behind the vehicle.
The Vehicle Will Be Full of Screens
The e-Tron Quattro SUV concept has two touch screen displays within the cockpit. One of these is to the driver’s left and is used to control the lights as well as the piloted driving system and the one on the right, controls media and navigation.
There are two OLED displays in the center console which handle infotainment and climate control.
An Impressive Range on a Single Charge
Audi claims that, when fully charged, the vehicles will have a range of more than 311 miles. This estimation is based on the standards set by the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) testing procedures. In fact, early testing has shown that the combined AC/DC charging system rated at 150kW, provides enough energy to give the vehicles a range of as much as 249 miles with 30 minutes of charging.
Although it is well known that the production versions of Audi’s electric cars will feature quick charging capabilities, it is not entirely clear how fast the system will work. However, most enthusiasts hope that it will be similar to the e-Tron Quattro SUV concept car’s charge time.
The concept vehicle is built with a Combined Charging System (CCS), which means that it can be charged by either a DC or AC electrical source. The car can be fully charged in about 50 minutes with a 150kW DC current.
The big question now is just how successful will Audi be when it comes to electric vehicles?