The next big thing: an all-electric production car from Audi. Two show cars showcase what the future of e-mobility will look like at the brand with the four rings – the Audi e-tron quattro concept and the Audi e-tron Sportback concept. Two important milestones in the e-tron evolution.
Charged with future spirit.
An all-electric Audi production car – soon it will no longer just be a vision, but a reality on the roads. You can already sense the feverish anticipation among everyone involved in this project. They can’t wait to add a new dimension to the company’s principle of Vorsprung durch Technik. Underlying the project is a continuous process involving different development stages. Before a production car like this goes into production, all necessary parameters – safety, comfort, aesthetics – are first optimised on the basis of studies. This work draws on tried-and-tested knowledge, but new challenges also need to be mastered. In e-mobility projects, range is an especially important factor. Achieving the maximum isn’t just a matter of technology but also of design. The various factors have been perfectly harmonised to create a complete package that will allow the first all-electric Audi production model to reach a range of 500 km in future.
Two milestones of the e-tron evolution.
”As is clear from the name show car, these models are intended for show; they showcase the brand’s design aesthetics. However, at Audi we take show car development very seriously from the technical side too. If we later go on to develop a production model from the show car, most of the necessary design groundwork will already have been laid down.”
This milestone in the e-tron evolution was unveiled at the IAA in Frankfurt in 2015. The show car provides a concrete foretaste of the future of luxury all-electric SUVs. It also showcases the athletic, contemporary aesthetics Audi is giving its alternative cars. The streamlined design, with a drag coefficient of 0.25, was developed in a wind tunnel. “Aerodynamics is an important factor when it comes to range. You need to meet certain values in order to unlock the maximum potential. To achieve this target, we tested a 1:4 model in a wind tunnel at an early stage of development, while we were still doing initial work on the vehicle architecture. It’s about creating a design that is not just aesthetically appealing, but also efficient. We called it ‘aerosthetics’ for short. The aesthetics of aerodynamics,” explains designer Gary Telaak. In order to further reduce air resistance, the sport adaptive air suspension lowers the car’s body at high speeds. Other details also help make the design more streamlined: for example, the wing mirrors have been stripped away and replaced by small cameras. As an added bonus, this boosts safety by reducing the blind spot.
“It’s more important than ever for our designs to take usability into account. Ideas that simply look good are no use. Aerodynamics has a particular impact on exterior design.”
Another member of the e-tron family was unveiled this year at the spring trade fair Auto Shanghai: the Audi e-tron Sportback concept. The four-door gran turismo represents another critical step towards e-mobility and offers a glimpse of what the production car might look like. The aesthetics combine classic Audi elements with a host of cutting-edge details: an electrifying architecture that has been systematically tailored to the electric drive technology and package. The dynamic digital light design sets new benchmarks.
The Audi experts:
Designers Philipp Römers (Audi e-tron Sportback concept, plus production version) and Gary Telaak (Audi e-tron quattro concept)