Audi denies rumors that it plans to launch sales of A1 electric car

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 4, 2011

Audi denied today a report that it is planning to launch sales of the A1 electric car fitted with a range-extending rotary engine against the wishes of parent company, Volkswagen.

Yesterday, the Financial Times Deutschland reported that Audi will find its own way on the electric cars market by developing an A1 powered by a small gasoline combustion engine but also by a lithium ion battery.

Volkswagen is calling Some sources revealed the fact that Audi's stance "anarchic" but an Audi spokesman told denied these rumors today.

"There is no problem between VW and Audi” said the spokesman. Audi is planning to introduce the first electric A1s on the streets in Munich by mid-2011, and unveiled the first concept, the A1 e-Tron at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.

Regarding the production version of the A1 e-Tron, the spokesman said that the field tests will help to determine whether the car will go into production.

For those who don’t know, the Audi A1 e-Tron is the third electric car concept from the German manufacturer, after the larger e-Tron vehicles unveiled at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show and the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Audi is presenting a new member of its e-tron family, albeit in concept form. This new vehicle, the Audi A1 e-tron Concept, is a Mega City Vehicle (MCV) powered by a very dynamic electric motor that could generate 75 kW (102 hp) of peak output and 45 kW (61 hp) in continuous output. It also could develop 150 Nm (110.63 lb-ft) of continuous torque and 240 Nm (177.01 lb-ft) in peak torque. While it features an internal combustion engine, this only serves to recharge the battery in exceptional conditions.

Thus, this MCV operates only in pure electric power that is great for zero-emission driving in the city. Since the synchronous electric motor is mounted transversely and at a low position at the front of the Audi A1 e-tron, the electric car features a lower center of gravity, making it more stable and easier to handle.

While Audi’s e-tron family has been around for just a few months, it has grown in numbers, each featuring a different drive technology. For instance, the first e-tron that was unveiled at the 2009 IAA in Frankfurt/Main is a near-series high-performance sports car powered by electric motors at all four wheels.

On the other hand, the e-tron concept unmasked at the Detroit Motor Show in 2010 is a lightweight compact two-seater powered by two electric motors on the rear axle. As for the new Audi A1 e-tron Concept, Audi took on another approach – creating a premium compact electric car.

This MCV city car could carry up to four passengers and was designed particularly for metropolitan areas in Europe and North America and for megacities in Asia and South America. Power from the electric motor is transmitted to the front wheels through a single-speed transmission that features a retractable selector lever on the console of the center tunnel. Drivers could use this lever to pick from "Drive," "Reverse," and "Neutral."

Power electronics are placed in the engine compartment just above the electric motor. Vital components of the new A1 e-tron Concept include the pulse-controlled inverter that acts as the controlling unit between the electric motor and the battery and the DC converter that connects the vehicle’s high-voltage network to the 14-volt electrical system. The charging module and the breaker unit that works to protect the high-voltage components are also considered as vital.

When the need to recharge the A1 e-tron Concept arises, one just needs to locate the socket for the standard charging plug behind the rings in its single-frame grille. It only takes around three hours to recharge a depleted battery from the 380 volt grid.

For added convenience, the A1 e-tron Concept features a display -- just adjacent to the plug-in connection – that shows the current charge status and the remaining charging time. Interestingly, this A1 e-tron Concept requires the electrification of key auxiliaries.

For instance, the climate control system’s refrigerant compressor is electrically powered by an electric motor, supplying only the needed amount of power. As a result, this improves the system efficiency compared to typical concepts. Moreover, a special circuit allows the climate control loop to serve as a heat pump regulating the temperature of both the cabin and the vehicle’s battery.

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