Not content to let the forthcoming Tesla Model X have the electric crossover market all to itself, Audi’s E-Tron Quattro concept previews a production model the German company says will go on sale in early 2018.
Audi E-Tron Powered by 3 Electric Motors
Unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, the crossover concept is not merely a clone of the 2016 Q7: it’s a little smaller, with the most notable difference its chopped roofline. If the look suggests an emphasis on performance over practicality, Audi’s specs confirm it: three electric motors (one powering the front wheels, and two out back) provide up to 496 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, good enough for a claimed 4.6-second sprint to 100 km/h. Tesla is promising more performance from its Model X, but Audi has much less to prove than Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
As the Quattro name and the trio of motors suggest, all four wheels are powered, with the two rear motors looked after by a ‘torque control manager’ that splits power between the left and right wheels for “maximum dynamics and stability.”
Aerodynamic and Obviously Fuel-Efficient
Audi says the concept’s sleek look was conceived in the name of aerodynamics, which it says helped its engineers achieve the E-Tron Quattro’s 500-km driving range. Nifty features include electrically-actuated aerodynamic elements on the hood, flanks, and rear end that adjust automatically at speeds over 80 km/h to keep wind resistance to a minimum.
The concept has wireless induction charging capability, as well as the usual wired connection, but Audi’s claim of a full charge in 50 minutes is wishful thinking with current charging technology.
Organic LED lighting plays a major role here, with OLED head- and taillights, and interior displays comprised entirely of these panels, currently used in flatscreen TVs and computer monitors.
Audi is mum on production model pricing, but bet on a six-figure tag when it rolls into showrooms two-and-a-half years from now.