Audi's first electric vehicle dubbed e-Tron will be produced in the Neckarsulm site, which is where its Quattro division is located and where the R8 was conceptualized. In a statement, Rupert Stadler, Audi chairman of the board, said that Audi chose this site for the e-tron production due to the experience that the workers have with small series production and high performance sports cars.
He also said that by choosing this site, it means that the site will continue to play an important role in the future. Sometime in the later part of 2012, the initial batches of Audi's electric super car will be released. The car, which is rumored to be named R4, is based on the first of the three e-tron models that was launched at last year's Frankfurt Auto Show.
Four electric motors power the vehicle, with two at the front and two at the rear axle, in the truest quattro style. These electric motors deliver 313hp and 4,500 Nm of torque, enabling the car to go 100 km/h in only 4.8 sec and to achieve a top speed of 200 km/h (124.27 mph). The 53 kilowatt hours battery block provide a range of 248 kilometers (154 miles). Recharging with a regular household plug takes from 6 to 8 hours.
While developing the new Audi e-tron, the luxury carmaker dared to implement a ground-breaking approach to several technical modules. For instance, an innovative thermal management system is now controlling the drive system, the power electronics and the battery.
This system is considered as crucial for achieving the e-tron’s intended range without sacrificing interior comfort for the driver and passengers. Likewise, Audi used a heat pump for a more efficient way of warming up and heating the cabin.
On the other hand, networking the e-tron’s electronics with the surroundings -- referred to as car-to-x communication – paves the way for new methods to optimize efficiency, safety and convenience. Despite all these works, it may still be a long way before Audi could have the e-tron ready for volume production, no thanks to several challenges and issues.
For instance, the Audi e-tron needs a battery that could store enough energy to make sure that the vehicle could perform and travel as intended. However, the problem is that an EV like the e-tron has a range and performance specs needing a large and heavy battery.
Instead of settling for a small battery that could store less energy, Audi is trying to offset the additional weight and space through a systematic lightweight construction concept as well as an optimal configuration of all components for the electric drive.