Audi's pure EV aims for upmarket interest

Auto & Audio March 16, 2019 07:27

By Kingsley Wijayasinha

13,942 Viewed

Caring for the environment just got easier with more realistic approach of e-tron 55 quattro

AUDI IS MOVING ahead with expanding its product portfolio in the Thai market, and has gone a step further by introducing a pure electric vehicle (EV) in Bangkok last Thursday. The Audi e-tron 55 quattro is a 100-per-cent electric SUV that is seductively priced at Bt5.099 million, despite being fully imported from Audi’s CO2-neutral EV production facility in Belgium. It was first unveiled in the US last year, and since then more than 20,000 units of the e-tron, which is the first fully-electric production model from Audi, have been sold. While the EV market in Thailand is still comparatively young, more upmarket customers are becoming interested due to its modern and eco-friendly appeal. There are two electric motors powering the e-tron, offering as much as 402 horsepower and 664Nm (available right from the start). This allows the SUV to accelerate from rest to 100kph in 5.7 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of 200kph. Higher speeds would drain the battery much quicker than usual cruising speeds. Audi claims that the e-tron can cover more than 400 kilometres on a single charge, but testers say that the usable range is about 375km, which is enough to reach many provinces in the country. But wait. Audi says that apart from the large high-voltage battery being able to store 95 kWh of energy that doesn’t require owners to recharge daily, there are solutions for long trips. In this situation, customers can use fast-charging stations to charge with direct current at up to 150kW, allowing the vehicle to be ready for another long stretch of driving in only half an hour. It also boasts a highly efficient energy recuperation system working on motor deceleration and braking. According to Audi, the e-tron can recuperate electric power to a maximum of 300Nm and 220kW, which is more than 70 per cent of its operating input. There is also a variety of home-charging options available, including pre-cooling the cabin via smartphones through the myAudi app. Extremely good aerodynamics also contribute to its fuel efficiency. While the exterior virtual mirrors may sound more like a techno gimmick, it contributes to lowering wind resistance. With the virtual mirrors, which replace conventional mirrors with tiny cameras outside and highcontrast OLED displays inside the cabin, the e-tron achieves a drag coefficient value of 0.27, which is the best in the class. In normal conditions the rear motor drives the rear wheels, and the front motor kicks in when needed – such as when cornering fast, understeering or oversteering. The battery is located between the front and rear axles, which gives it’s a centre of gravity similar to a sedan, while the front-rear weight distribution is 50-50, which would be hard to achieve with a conventional frontengine SUV. The interior features Audi’s virtual cockpit dashboard, and lots of assist systems that help ensure efficient and relaxing driving. And Audi says the e-tron will be its first model to allow customers to add certain functions online whenever the need arises, starting from mid-2019 onwards. For example the LED headlights can be upgraded to matrix LED headlights with intelligent high beams, while assist systems, infotainment extras, and an Audi smartphone interface could be added.

Audi e-tron 55  quattro specs

Electric motor Peak electrical output: 265kW

Continuous electrical output: 100kW

Peak electrical output in boost mode: 300kW

Electrical torque output: 561Nm

Electrical torque output in boost mode: 664Nm

Battery type: lithium-ion

Battery energy content: 95kWh

Transmission: Two-stage planetary gearbox with single gear

Transmission ratio (front/rear): 9.205/9.083

Final drive ratio: 9.205

Top speed: 200kph

0-100km/h: 6.6 secs (normal), 5.7 (boost mode)

Suspension (f/r): multi-link/multi-link

Steering: powered rack-and-pinion

Turning circle: 12.2m

Brakes (f/r): vented disc/disc

Dimensions (mm)

Length: 4,901

Width: 1,935

Height: 1,616

Wheelbase: 2,928

Track (f/r): 1,655/1.652

Weight: 2,490 kg

Wheels: 21-inch alloys

Tyres: 265/45 R21

Price: Bt5.099 million

Distributor: Audi Thailand