11/14/2018

FORMULA E: DANIEL ABT TESTS AUDI E-TRON IN NAMIBIA

How much driving pleasure does the first all-electric Audi offer a professional racing driver? How does a red-blooded racer experience the innovative technology and forward-thinking dynamism of the brand with the four rings in the field? Formula E driver Daniel Abt provides the answers. The Bavarian from Kempten in the Allgäu region, a two-time race winner last season and winner of the teams’ championship with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, tested the freshly unveiled Audi e-tron in Namibia.
Following the test drive with the new Audi e-tron at the beginning of December, Daniel Abt began the preparation for the 2018/2019 FIA Formula season. In Valencia, the German tested his new race car, the Audi e-tron FE05.

COOL BEAUTY

Daniel Abt grew up with Audi’s most fabulous vehicles. But even for an expert like him, the first meeting with the new Audi e-tron turns into a special event. “What a cool beauty, this first all-electric Audi! Plus, what perfect conditions here in Namibia for my first test of the Audi e-tron.” In the hot salt pans and savannas of Africa’s southwest with temperatures of nearly 40 degrees, the Audi Formula E factory driver takes the wheel of the first fully electric production vehicle of the brand with the four rings.  

 

In focus at the test: the superbly agile driving dynamics, powerful traction and confident directional stability delivered by this all-wheel drive luxury SUV. The look of his test object thrills Daniel Abt as he gets into the car: “Just because it’s fully electric, this car has not been artificially trimmed for a futuristic look. Really cool, the new Audi e-tron is just beautifully modern!”

HIGH-TECH COCKPIT

HIGH-TECH COCKPIT

“Just like home! You don’t get the feeling of sitting in a space shuttle here.” This is Daniel Abt’s reaction after getting into the driver’s seat. Ample space and the materials used are fully in line with the typical characteristics of a luxury car of the Audi brand. The cockpit of the Audi e-tron features the MMI Navigation plus infotainment system including LTE Advanced and a WLAN hotspot as standard equipment.

 

Standard as well is comprehensive internet connectivity: the e-tron route planner (shows suitable routes including charging points), automated billing at charging columns, smartphone-based remote control. “Really cool, too, are the seams in the seats that look like electrical conductors,” Daniel Abt says, emphasising his love of visual detail.

CAMERA INSTEAD OF MIRRORS

While checking out the cockpit, the trained eye of the racing pro is caught in particular by the virtual rear-view mirror system: “Looking at the two displays in the front doors to which the two outside cameras project the rearward view takes some getting used to.” This was no problem on the test track of the dry salt lake at Bitterwasser. There the Formula E driver neither had to watch out for opponents as he would on the race track nor for other road users as in normal traffic.
SILENT TAKE-OFF

SILENT TAKE-OFF

Driving off without a loud engine sound is routine business for Daniel Abt. Since the 2014 season he has contested all 45 races of the fully electric Formula E racing series held to date. “The way this E-SUV takes off is really awesome,” says Abt. “When you depress the accelerator pedal the car is propelled so directly and with such power, that’s super-cool.” Primarily responsible for the agile character of the Audi e-tron that weighs 2.5 tonnes are its two electric motors. One is located at the front axle and the other one at the rear. Together, they deliver output of near-300 kW (408 hp). They accelerate the vehicle from zero to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds and power it to a top speed of 200 km/h.
PROGRESS THROUGH E-QUATTRO

PROGRESS THROUGH E-QUATTRO

The Audi e-tron as standard equipment uses an electric all-wheel drive system, the new generation of the quattro concept developed by Audi nearly 40 years ago. It permanently and fully variably controls the ideal distribution of the drive torque between the two axles. To achieve maximum efficiency, the electric SUV mainly uses its rear electric motor.  

 

If necessary, the propulsion forces are predictively shifted to the front axle – even before slip, under- or oversteer occur on slippery roads or in fast cornering. The progress achieved by e-quattro impresses factory driver Daniel Abt: “Due to everything being controlled electronically, this new Audi all-wheel drive responds even faster and even more precisely than its predecessors all of which were already outstanding as well.”

DRIFTING BY CHOICE

DRIFTING BY CHOICE

“You can adapt the Audi e-tron exactly to suit your driving preferences via its various smart assistance systems. I think that’s mega,” says Daniel Abt. During his test in Namibia, for example, the Formula E racer selected the driving modes like this: ESC (electronic stability control) to ‘sport’ and drive select (driving dynamics system to ‘auto’.

 

This selection results in the following response when cornering at excessive speed: grip is initially lost at the front and then at the rear axle. The front pushes straight on while the rear pushes outwards off the direction of travel. The electronic stability control system intervenes via the drive system and chassis, instantaneously shifting the propulsive torque to the outside cornering wheels and in the direction of the front axle. In this way, the fine-tuned interaction between the two electric motors and precisely coordinated braking interventions of the electronic locks restores the lost traction and puts the Audi e-tron back on a stable track.  

 

“The car understands and detects critical driving situations and automatically corrects them,” explains Daniel Abt. If the ESC in the Audi e-tron is deactivated, mastering critical cornering situations requires the driving skills of someone who knows what they’re doing at the wheel.

TRULY ELECTRIFIED

“An absolutely innovative electric car with the most advanced quattro drive, a comfortable, dynamic and safe luxury SUV in every respect that simply feels mega.” After his test in Namibia, Daniel Abt is totally convinced of the new Audi e-tron. The Formula E factory driver from Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler ends his conclusion with a tongue-in-cheek comment: “I can clearly picture the Audi e-tron as my new company car.”

E-EXPERIENCE

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