Meet The Audi e-Tron Prototype

BY Azfar Hashim

A preview of the first purely electric-powered model from the brand, it promises a comfortable and spacious interior - long range will make it suitable for everyday use

Audi has unveiled the prototype for its first all-electric model at the Geneva Motor Show. The sporty SUV combines the space and comfort of a typical luxury car, with a range suitable for everyday use. However until the start of series production, almost 250 development vehicles will complete testing under extreme conditions worldwide.

The Audi e-tron prototype offers a preview of the first all-electric model from the brand. “Audi sets an important milestone for the company’s future with its first purely electrically powered model,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG.

“In 2020 we will have three all-electric vehicles in our product range, with a four-door Gran Turismo — the production version of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept — and a model in the compact segment joining the sporty SUV. We will be launching more than 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2025 — spread across all segments and concepts,” the Audi CEO explained.

The Audi e-tron prototype does not wear the traditional prototype camouflage, but instead illustrates its electrification with a specially developed design film. The distorted ‘e-tron’ lettering stretches across the entire flank, as if it was charged with electricity.

The “e” winds its way around the tailgate at the height of the front fender and is, literally, electrifying. Mimicking the high-voltage grid, orange elements illustrate the fact that the Audi e-tron prototype is fully electric — the lower part of the car, for example, is encircled with alternating orange and black segments. The expressive sills, with their colorful inserts, indicate where the battery and therefore energy center of the car are located.

Audi is testing the pre-series vehicles for customer-focused operation in all climate zones ranging from below -20 to above +50 degrees Celsius (-4° to +122° F). In addition, intensive tests of the charging technology are being conducted worldwide — an important safeguarding criterion for battery-electric models. The individual charging standards are tested on proving grounds and in public areas to validate the full range of different charging options. In total, just under 250 Audi e-tron prototypes are used in the tests. They will cover more than five million kilometers — roughly equivalent to 125 times around the earth and 85,000 hours on the road.

Prior to the world premiere, part of the Audi e-tron test fleet was out on public roads wearing the electrifying camouflage. The first stop for the distinctive prototypes was Geneva; here, they drove past prominent sites in the Swiss metropolis at the start of the motor show.

The camouflaged exterior conceals a sporty premium SUV with space for five people along with plenty of luggage — the space and comfort are similar to that of a typical Audi luxury class model. The range suitable for longer journeys and the comprehensive charging options allow customers to drive in purely electric mode.

The production version of the Audi e-tron prototype can fill up on electricity at fast-charging stations with up to 150 kW charging capacity. In just under 30 minutes, the SUV is then ready for the next leg of the long-distance journey.

The Audi e-tron will be launched on the European market at the end of 2018. It is produced at the carbon-neutral plant in Brussels.