Audi had an awesome year in 2015. Automotive sales were up by 3.6% and they saw $5.2 billion in profits. So what plans do they have waiting in the wings? To invest $3.3 billion of that into an electric car.
Reupert Stadler, CEO at Audi, has revealed a plan that involves investing billions of dollars into electrical and digital technology. He boasts that the company has “looked to the future with full confidence”, and if the move is a success will prove their Vorsprung durch Technik is the real deal. The first unveiling took place in Frankfurt last fall with the E-tron Quattro, and you can see that the brand is already taking the electric car concept very seriously.
The E-tron Quattro is fueled entirely by a 95 kilowatt per hour, lithium-ion battery, giving it 310 miles of range on a charge. The powerful battery pack has been situated underneath the passenger compartment, lowering the center of gravity for the car. Three motors are powered as a result, one for the two wheels in front and one each for each of the rear wheels. Set up this way, you get improved handling of the vehicle because the drive computer is able to give more torque to the outside rear wheel, counteracting understeer by pushing around the back end.
With Audi promising a production electric model for 2018, it is safe to assume that the E-tron Quattro is an experiment of sorts for what they have planned. Aerodynamics were definitely a factor in the design, with flushed door handles and a lack of side view mirrors. Safety has not been compromised however, as camera pods on the front fenders will display what the side view mirrors should inside of the cabin.
The E-tron Quattro also has a lower roofline than other cars in its class, making it appear more like a wagon than SUV. Yet the drag down is now down to .25, better than any other SUV available on the market. It is likely that all of these design elements will be a standard part of the electric cars planned for 2018 to help in prolonging the life of the battery.
With the E-tron Quattro, it takes about 50 minutes for a full recharge at a Level 3 DC charging station. Part of the $3.3 billion could be spent on wireless charging, where the concept could just drive itself onto the wireless charging pad and get charged up for the next trip.
Electric cars are no longer just for the Jetsons. There is an increasing demand for the technology, and as the forerunners in innovation for the automotive industry, Audi has the forward thinking needed to make it a success. Start saving your pennies now, because in two short years, you’re going to want them to spend them on one of the new Audis.