The story behind Audi e-tron

By | March 18, 2024

Audi e-tron three-quarters front

Audi e-tron three-quarters front

The Audi e-tron is a bold opening statement for Audi’s vision of a fully electric future

Since Audi introduced the slogan ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ in 1971, the idea of ​​’progress through technology’ has underpinned every element of Audi’s design and engineering – from turbocharged quattro performance, through milestone leaps in fuel efficiency, to cutting-edge technology that drive easier and safer.

Audi’s all-electric e-tron models are the boldest evolution of that philosophy yet, offering uncompromising zero-emissions electric driving with the exhilarating driving experience, delightful comfort and versatile reliability you expect from an Audi. ‘Advantage through technology. Now electric’, if you will.

As part of its goal to become a carbon-neutral company by 2050, Audi plans to introduce 30 electrified models to its range over the next five years – around 40% of the range of cars it sells. This includes 20 all-new, fully electric e-tron models covering everything from family-friendly SUVs to exciting performance cars.

But to truly understand the long-term potential of Audi’s e-tron vision, we must first take a brief step into the past.

We joined forces with Audi to launch Coach Electric – with the latest EV news and analysis, in-depth reviews and plenty of help and advice to get you started on your electric journey. Click here to discover more.

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Audi e tron ​​promoted story3

The evolution of e-tron

The e-tron concept at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show offered the first glimpse of Audi’s intentions. The Audi R8-inspired design had an electric range of 155 miles, but some wondered whether electric driving would ever deliver sports car thrills. With 309 hp and an astonishing 3319 Nm of torque, transmitted via the all-electric quattro all-wheel drive, the e-tron concept had the answer: 0-100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

At the same time, Audi started to hone its e-tron knowledge on the track. Ever since Audi dominated rallying in the 1980s with quattro all-wheel drive, motorsport has been an important part of the Vorsprung durch Technik ethos. The crucible of the race track has always been the perfect, high-speed proving ground for rapidly improving road car technology in the sweltering heat of competition, and the idea of ​​’racing to improve the breed’ seemed like the perfect fit for e-tron .

Audi’s R18 e-tron quattro prototype became the first electric hybrid to win the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans with a hat-trick of victories in 2012, 2013 and 2014, while Audi’s title-winning campaigns in the all-electric FIA Formula E single – seater series has helped its engineers develop increasingly efficient electric powertrains that charge and deploy energy faster, while also being lighter and smaller.

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Audi e tron ​​​​promoted story5

The unveiling of the limited edition R8 e-tron at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show showed just how exciting Audi’s progress had been in just six years. With 456 hp and 200 Nm, it could sprint to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. In fact, the high-capacity 92 kWh battery – more energy efficient and smarter packaged, thanks to rapid developments in electric powertrain technology – offered a range of up to 450 kilometers.

The big news, however, was the unveiling of the Audi e-tron quattro SUV concept, which provided the first glimpse of Audi’s first fully electric production model – a model that was already well into development.

Changing the face of Audi e-design

Audi has never been held back by something as idiosyncratic as convention, and the move to electric powertrains has prompted Audi to rethink the way its e-tron models are designed and developed. Physics and shape are no longer determined by a motor at the front. Instead, low-mounted batteries and compact engines have lowered the center of gravity and opened up the interior space, while aerodynamics have subtly changed how e-tron models are shaped, without losing Audi’s signature familiar design language.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a designer and take automotive design into the future,” said Marc Lichte, head of design at Audi. “Progress is an important part of Audi’s DNA. Our designs must radiate charisma: ‘Here comes an Audi’. But of course an electric car must also clearly say: ‘Here comes the future’.”

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Audi e tron ​​​​promoted story14

“Thanks to the battery between the axles, we can create proportions that we have been dreaming of for a long time. Huge wheelbase, small overhangs: completely new proportions that define the unique character of electric vehicles. The heart of the vehicle is no longer the engine, but the battery in the floor. For example, the Audi Q4 e-tron concept has an expressive sill that clearly indicates the location of the beating heart of the car. The front cover also has a quieter design. Powerdomes are a thing of the past.

“The aerodynamics increase the range, giving the e-tron a streamlined teardrop shape with a fast, sleek roof. The bottom features streamlined panels that flow into the diffuser at the back. Even the wheels are aerodynamically finished, but still resemble a sporty wheel with spokes. Intake ducts direct air to the battery to cool it, allowing it to charge faster. Last but not least, our virtual exterior mirrors contribute to low air resistance – and make Audi’s ‘Vorsprung’ visible.”

Even the paint on an Audi e-tron has been given a new function: to reflect more sunlight and heat than on previous Audi models to reduce the load on the interior air conditioning and preserve battery power for a longer range.

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Audi e tron ​​promoted story 3

From hybrid to e-tron fully electric

Audi officially unveiled its groundbreaking e-tron at the 2018 San Francisco Auto Show. With family-friendly SUV dimensions, 403 hp and 490 Nm of torque via all-electric quattro all-wheel drive, it can go from Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h, while covering up to 400 km (WLTP) of driving pleasure. range with ultra-fast charging from 150 kW to 80% in just 30 minutes.

This was where the promise of a truly usable, all-electric Audi e-tron SUV became reality: spacious, comfortable and versatile, but also exciting to drive, with practical real-world range and fast charging that makes long journeys a breeze. make a cent.

The recently unveiled Audi e-tron Sportback offers a choice of sports coupe styling, while an Audi e-tron GT Concept delivers on the promise of the original e-tron concept with 590 hp, 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, a range of 400 kilometers and ultra-fast charging times of 20 minutes with a capacity of 80% are in the pipeline. Looking further ahead, an Audi Q4 e-tron Concept is also planned, offering a more compact, city-friendly SUV alternative without compromising on range, comfort or functionality.

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Audi e tron ​​​​promoted story16

And all the while, Audi has maintained its broader approach to electrification with an extensive and ever-growing range of advanced TFSI e plug-in hybrid models that significantly improve fuel economy and reduce emissions in the here and now for drivers who don’t. wants to make the step to fully electric.

Looking to the future of e-tron

In the past, Vorsprung durch Technik meant performance, safety and efficiency. In the world of e-tron, ‘progress through technology’ means sustainability and future-oriented solutions for the way we all use our resources. That’s why Audi’s e-tron philosophy isn’t just changing the way Audi’s cars are designed and powered – it’s also changing the way Audis are made, how they’re charged and how they’re driven.

Sustainability is so much more than just reducing a car’s CO2 emissions, and in the same way we talk about ‘farm to fork’ sustainability with food, Audi looks at every element of the ‘cradle to grave’ life of electric cars – including how a car’s raw materials are obtained, how they are formed in the factory and what happens to them at the end of the car’s life.

With engineering and manufacturing facilities at 16 locations in 12 countries, employing more than 90,700 people and producing 1.8 million cars per year, Audi’s industrial scale is impressive, but also impactful. That is why Audi has set itself Mission: Zero: the goal of having no CO2 emissions in all its factories by 2025.

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Audi e tron ​​​​promoted story1

Thanks to the introduction of solar panels and biogas heating, Audi’s factory in Brussels – where the e-tron is made – is already the first CO2-neutral large-scale production facility in the premium segment in the world. On a broader scale, energy efficiency initiatives across Audi’s facilities saved 71,300 megawatt hours of electricity and approximately 10,800 tons of CO2 emissions in 2019.

Audi is also working with all its partners to reduce energy and raw material consumption across the entire supply chain – especially for CO2-intensive processes such as aluminum, steel and battery production – while exploring how every part of an Audi can be reduced, reused, recycled or reconsidered to reduce its net impact as part of a ‘less is more’ philosophy.

How e-tron helps Audi rethink e-mobility

However, Audi’s e-tron vision is not just about sustainability. It’s about making electric driving easier – and that means charging. Audi is working with charging partner Ionity to improve the infrastructure and speed of electric charging networks, while making on-the-go charging even easier with a ‘one payment card’-style solution.

Likewise, the e-tron models continue to develop Audi’s wealth of intelligent driver assistance technologies that make journeys – especially on the highway and in city traffic – easier, more stress-free, safer and more energy efficient.

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Audi e tron ​​promoted story 2a

Looking even further ahead, Audi’s e-tron vision even develops ideas about how the car could be reimagined through electric propulsion – not just zero-emission driving, but also redesigned interiors that focus more on space, comfort and convenience , or infotainment that turns your car from a mode of transportation into a connected device involved in every other aspect of your life.

So if the future is electric, Audi e-tron is clearly giving us all a taste of that future today. That’s what I now call ‘progress through technology’.

We joined forces with Audi to launch Coach Electric – with the latest EV news and analysis, in-depth reviews and plenty of help and advice to get you started on your electric journey. Click here to discover more.

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