Audi e-tron GT targets Tesla Model S
The third installment in Audi’s all-electric e-tron range debuted as the GT concept at the 2018 LA Auto Show. Previewing a production version due in about two years’ time, the concept will make its film debut in Marvel Studios’ Avengers 4, set for release in the summer of 2019.
Following in the footsteps of the just-launched e-tron SUV and the e‑tron Sportback slated for 2019, the sporty four-door e-tron GT is aimed directly at Tesla’s Model S. It is based on the Volkswagen Group’s Premium Platform Electric (PPE) component set that also underpins Porsche’s upcoming Taycan—the production version of the Mission E concept shown at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Performance subsidiary Audi Sport GmbH is responsible for transforming the GT concept into a production model. The PPE will be the foundation for multiple Audi models with all-electric drive covering the high-volume B through D segments.
The flat-floor architecture enables low and wide proportions, a low center of gravity, and a long wheelbase. The concept is 4.96 m (195.3 in) long, 1.96 m (77.2 in) wide, and 1.38 m (54.3 in) tall, with a 2.90-m (114.2-in) wheelbase. By comparison, Porsche’s Taycan in Mission E concept form was slightly shorter at 4.85 m (190.9 in), slightly wider at 1.99 m (78.3 in), and lower at 1.3 m (51.2 in).
The car’s lightweight body uses a mix of materials, with a carbon roof section, numerous aluminum components, and supporting high-strength steel elements developed in close collaboration with Porsche. Overall GT design elements include a gently sloping roofline, a sportback (hatchback) configuration, a cabin with noticeable taper toward the rear, and sculpted wheel arches and shoulders.
Numerous body functional elements, such as the air vents of the wheel arches and a rear diffuser, help reduce aerodynamic drag, lift, and fuel consumption. The hallmark Audi Singleframe grille, much more horizontal than those of the two other e-trons, has a body-color top half and a honeycomb design reminiscent of that on Audi RS models. Large air inlets in front cool the battery and brakes. A slot in the upper grille feeds air over the hood to reduce turbulence.
As with other recent production and concept Audis, lighting and special effects are a key feature of the GT. The matrix LED headlights have laser high beams. A light strip across the width of the rear uses individual wedge-shaped LED segments similar to those of the production SUV e-tron. Animations that welcome the driver with waves of light extending horizontally are set to find their way into future volume production.
On the propulsion front, permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors are fitted to the front and rear axles for 434-kW total system power. An electronic control system coordinates the drive between axles as well as between left and right wheels for torque-vectoring Quattro AWD. The compact drive units allow for two cargo compartments: under the large rear tailgate is 450 L (15.9 ft3) of luggage capacity, and under hood is an extra 100 L (3.5 ft3).
The production vehicle is expected to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in around 3.5 s and on to 200 km/h (124 mph) in just over 12 s, with a regulated 240-km/h (149-mph) top speed to maximize range. In a swipe at the current competition (aka, Tesla), Audi promises the option of fully using the drive’s acceleration potential several times in succession due to a sophisticated cooling strategy for both motors and battery pack.
The concept’s range is over 400 km (248 mi), measured by the WLTP standard, from a lithium-ion battery pack with an energy content of more than 90 kW·h. The pack takes up the entire underfloor area between the front and rear axles. It can be charged using a cable, which is connected under the flap in the left front fender, or by contactless induction using a charging pad underneath the parked car. Wired charging with the planned 800-V system is fast, taking around 20 min to recharge the battery to 80% capacity, for a range of more than 320 km (199 mi) on the WLTP scale.
Braking recuperation can increase range by up to 30% using both the electric motors and the electrohydraulic brake control system. Modes include manual coasting recuperation using the shift paddles, automatic coasting recuperation via the predictive efficiency assist, and brake recuperation with smooth transition between electric and hydraulic deceleration. Up to 0.3 g, which covers over 90% of all decelerations, energy is recuperated solely by the electric motors. Above that level, the conventional wheel brakes assist, using high-performance ceramic discs for multiple extreme decelerations.
Inside the four-seat GT is a top center console dominated by a large top touchscreen for infotainment and a digital instrument cluster, the monitors including virtual instrument dials and a variety of infotainment layouts. Designers focused on sustainable and non-animal-based materials for the vegan interior, with synthetic leather for the seats and other trim surfaces; recycled-fiber fabrics for seat cushions, armrests, and the center console; microfiber materials for headlining and window-pillar trim; and Econyl, a recycled fiber made from used fishing nets, for the deep-pile carpet.
Audi’s Diesel-gate-inspired all-electric offensive, which began with the e-tron SUV market launch in September, is expected to reach 12 models by 2025, or roughly one-third of its sales. Next up is the e-tron Sportback coming in 2019. Audi promises its future EV range will cover every relevant market segment from the compact to full-size class. The e-tron GT show car will be developed into a production model by the end of 2020, with initial deliveries to customers in early 2021.