Audi e-Tron Quattro Concept previews an electric future at Frankfurt

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 17, 2015

Audi is launching the e-tron quattro concept: a statement of how the brand sees electric mobility in the future. The all-electric drive system found on the new concept car combines well with the aerodynamic design. Its dynamic appearance is highlighted by the fact that its flat greenhouse narrows to the rear.

The e-tron quattro has a length of 4.88 meters, a width of 1.93 meters, and a height of 1.54 meters. SUVs in general have a drag coefficient of more than 0.30 but the e-tron quattro stands at 0.25. This is the reason why Audi’s SUV can go for more than 500 kilometers or 310 miles.

When the car reaches speeds of 50mph or more, the many aerodynamic elements on its hood, flanks, and rear portion are activated electronically and direct the air flow as necessary in order to improve the flow around and through the car. This is the result of rigorous development work on the wind tunnel. When inside the car, engine noise as well as wind noise cannot be heard. Thus, one is able to enjoy the full pleasure of driving an electric car in almost complete silence.

The e-tron quattro was presented by the Audi during the 2015 International Motor Show held in Frankfurt. According to Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, the company is planning to present a luxury-class and all-electric sport SUV in 2018 and the e-tron quattro is merely a preview of this. Hackenberg is a member of Audi’s Board of Management for Technical Development. The e-tron quattro is a car that combines driving pleasure, excellent comfort, and expressive design, Hackenberg concludes.

Exterior Design

Moving on to the exterior, it is clear that additions to the design reduce drag. Examples are the fully enclosed floor pan and vertical separating edges placed on its side panels. The exterior mirrors have been replaced by cameras, adding to the already excellent aerodynamics and giving a taste of the future.

In terms of lighting, the main lights on the front utilize the Matrix laser technology. The bottom part has a unique lighting signature that is composed of five lighting elements. Each of these lighting elements are a mix of LED luminary and flat OLED element.

Audi has long been developing this technology in order to be used for its production vehicles and this is the first time it has been shown. The rear lights in the meantime have two sections.

Each of them has nine red OLEDs on the top with three OLED units at the bottom. The rear lights also comprise two sections. Each of the top zones features nine red OLED units for the tail light function, with three more below.

Interior Design

Inside, Audi’s virtual cockpit has been improved since its original debut back in 2014. Currently, the virtual cockpit has a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED). On its sides and under the fully-digital instrument cluster is a pair of touch displays with a black glass within an aluminium and subtle frame.

The left display enables the driver to control the different lights and the system that regulates the piloted driving. Its right display meanwhile is dedicated for navigation and media management. The steering wheel can additionally serve as alternate control level.

Further, the spokes have contoured touch surfaces. The center tunnel console has a selector lever under which are additional two OLEDs that display the programmable information functions, climate control, and drive system status.

In addition, the curved displays found on the door’s front section also function as digital exterior mirrors. At the back are two individual seats for the rear passengers. The passengers are able to use the OLED displays if they want to configure the infotainment and climate control at the rear.

It also allows the passengers to exchange important data. Finally the connectivity features of the e-tron quattro are truly cutting edge like the LTE module that allows Internet connection.

In terms of space, the e-tron quattro is spacious and boasts of an interior that is comfortable even for four people plus luggage space of 615 liters. This gives the interior a more open and light feel to it. Every display utilizes the OLED technology.


What makes the e-tron quattro distinct is that it makes use of three electric motors. This is a first for the Audi and makes for a very good technology study.

In order to better control the interaction between the three motors and to utilize them according to the situation, the e-tron quattro uses the intelligent drive management system. Its main objective is of course to achieve the most efficiency when driving.

The driver will make several decisions with regards to the degree of recuperation, choice of S or D driving program, and the drive select mode. In terms of function, one of the motors is the one that drives the car’s front axle while the other two motors act on its rear axle.

Though the total output of the motors is 320 kW, it can be temporarily boosted to a 370 kW power and torque of more than 800 Nm or about 590.0 lb.-ft. The motors allow for 130mph top speed and can accelerate the e-tron quattro from 0 to 62mph in merely 4.6 seconds.

Audi’s e-tron quattro has the Torque Control Manager which can actively distribute power between the two rear wheel as needed, especially when driving through a winding road and only sporty driving can cut it. The torque vectoring system can deliver maximum stability and dynamics.

Since the lithium-ion battery has been placed on the passenger compartment’s floor, this gives the e-tron quattro a lower center of gravity and makes the axle load distribution more balanced. These comprise the two important requirements when it comes to dynamic handling.

The battery has a capacity of 95 kWh, allowing the car to go in excess of 310 miles or 500 kilometers. With the Combined Charging System (CCS), the battery can be charged with either an AC or DC electric current. With the use of DC current from a charging station with a 150 kW output, the battery can be fully charged in 50 minutes.

In addition to this feature, the e-tron quattro alternatively comes equipped with Audi’s own Wireless Charging technology which can allow contactless induction charging.

This makes it a very convenient feature. Furthermore, the e-tron quattro has a system that enables piloted parking in order to guide the car to its proper position on the charging plate. Another good feature is the solar roof that can generate electricity for the car’s drive system battery, especially on sunny days.

Press Release


Flow-enhanced design with a drag coefficient of 0.25; powerful, all-electric e-tron quattro drive with up to 370 kW – Audi is presenting the Audi e-tron quattro concept at the International Motor Show (IAA) 2015 in Frankfurt. The car is the company’s statement about the future of electric mobility: It is responsive, efficient and suitable for everyday use.

“Audi will present an all-electric, luxury-class sport SUV in early 2018. The Audi e-tron quattro concept provides a concrete foretaste of this,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Audi Board of Management for Technical Development. “It combines driving pleasure with great range, an expressive design and excellent comfort.”

Electric power
The Audi e-tron quattro concept uses the power of three electric motors: One electric motor drives the front axle, the two others act on the rear. Total output is 320 kW. The driver can even mobilise 370 kW and over 800 Nm (590.0 lb-ft) of torque temporarily while boosting. The concept study thus performs like a sports car. When the driver floors the throttle pedal, the Audi e-tronquattro concept sprints from a standstill to 62mph in 4.6 seconds and quickly reaches the electronically governed top speed of 130mph.

The concept with three electric motors which Audi is presenting for the first time makes the technology study an e-tron quattro. An intelligent drive management system controls the interplay between them as appropriate for the situation. The focus here is on the greatest possible efficiency. The driver decides on the degree of recuperation, the driving program S or D and the mode of Audi drive select .

During sporty driving on a winding road, the Torque Control Manager actively distributes the power between the rear wheels as necessary. This torque vectoring provides for maximum dynamics and stability.

The large lithium-ion battery is integrated into the floor of the passenger compartment. It gives the Audi e-tron quattro concept a balanced axle load distribution and a low centre of gravity – prerequisites for its dynamic handling. The battery’s capacity of 95 kWh enables a range of more than 310 miles (500 kilometres). The Combined Charging System (CCS) enables charging with DC or AC electrical current. A full charge with DC electrical current at a charging point with an output of 150 kW takes just around 50 minutes. As an alternative, the study is equipped with Audi Wireless Charging technology for contactless induction charging. The charging process is very convenient. The Audi e-tron quattro concept uses a system for piloted parking that guides it to the proper position at the charging plate. In addition, a large solar roof provides electricity for the drive system battery on sunny days.

The chassis also expresses the high-tech character of the concept study. The adaptive air suspension sport, which features controlled damping, lowers the body at higher speeds to reduce drag. The dynamic-all-wheel steering combines a dynamic steering system on the front axle with a steering system for the rear wheels. Depending on speed and the driving situation, they steer either in the same direction as the front wheels or in the opposite plane. The Audi e-tron quattroconcept thus reacts even more spontaneously and stably, and is also very manoeuvrable at low speeds.

Aerodynamic: The exterior design
The Audi e-tron quattro concept harmoniously combines its remarkably aerodynamic design with the all-electric drive system. The five-door technology study is 4.88 metres long, 1.93 metres wide and just 1.54 metres high. Its coupé-like silhouette with the extremely flat greenhouse that tapers strongly toward the rear lends it a very dynamic appearance. The car’s drag coefficient measures just 0.25 – a new best for the SUV segment, where figures are usually considerably over 0.30.

All of this contributes considerably to the long range of more than 310 miles (500 kilometres). At speeds of 50mph and above, electrically actuated aerodynamic elements on the bonnet, the flanks and at the rear end direct the flow of air as needed to improve the flow through and around the vehicle. This is one example of the intensive development work in the wind tunnel. Wind noise is low on board the car, and there is of course an absence of engine noise. The fascination of electric driving unfolds in near total silence.

The vertical separating edges on the side panels and the fully enclosed floor pan with its newly designed microstructures contribute to reducing drag. Cameras replace the exterior mirrors – another contribution to the excellent aerodynamics and also a foretaste of the future of driving.

All the main lighting functions at the front of the car use Matrix laser technology. The bottom section houses a new, distinctive lighting signature comprising five lighting elements. Each of these combines an LED luminary with an extremely flat OLED element (organic light-emitting diode). Audi is developing Matrix OLED technology for use in production vehicles and is showing it for the first time in the concept study at the IAA.

The rear lights also comprise two sections. Each of the top zones features nine red OLED units for the tail light function, with three more below.

Deep integration: The interior

The package of the Audi e-tron quattro concept enables a spacious, comfortable interior for four people and 615 litres of luggage space. The interior has a light and open feel to it; its architecture melds harmoniously with the operating and display concept. All displays in the interior use OLED technology. The extremely thin films can be cut to any desired shape.

The new Audi virtual cockpit curved OLED is a further development of the Audi virtual cockpit that debuted in production vehicles in 2014. To the left and right below the fully-digital instrument cluster are two touch displays with black glass and a subtle aluminium frame. The driver controls the lights and the systems for piloted driving with the left display. The large display on the right is for media and navigation management. The steering wheel serves as an alternate control level. Its spokes are equipped with contoured touch surfaces.

Below the selector lever on the centre tunnel console are two more OLED displays for the drive system status, climate control and freely programmable information functions. The curved displays in the front section of the doors serve as digital exterior mirrors.

The two rear passengers sit on comfortable individual seats. They can use the OLED displays on the centre console to configure the climate control and infotainment for their area or to exchange data with the driver. An LTE module connects the Audi e-tron quattro concept with the Internet. The connectivity features in the study are cutting edge.

The zFAS: Nerve centre for piloted driving

The concept study is equipped with all the technologies that Audi has developed for piloted driving: radar sensors, a video camera, ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner. The data these supply come together in the central driver assistance controller (zFAS) in the luggage compartment. It computes a complete model of the car’s surroundings in real time and makes this information available to all assistance systems and the systems for piloted driving. These technologies are also nearly ready for use in production vehicles.

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