Audi e-tron Sportback concept previews 2019 all-electric model
The Audi e-tron Sportback concept shown at Auto Shanghai 2017 is a crossover design study and technology demonstrator powered by an electric drive. A production version will be the second model in Audi’s new e-tron range of electrified vehicles. The first model in the range will be the 2018 production version of the e-tron Quattro shown at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Following it in 2019 is the production version of this smaller Audi e-tron Sportback.
It is an important milepost for Audi’s electric mobility ambitions, according to Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management, Audi AG: “Our Audi e-tron will be starting out in 2018, the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use.” Tesla execs might question that assertion.
“We have made a conscious decision to give the Audi e-tron Sportback its first showing here in Shanghai, because China is the world’s leading market for electric automobiles,” said Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales at Audi AG, pointing out the special significance of electric mobility for the China market. “That applies as much to the infrastructure and financial support as it does to sales. There are already about 150,000 charging stations in the country, with another 100,000 due to come on stream by the end of 2017.”
Sitting on large 23-in wheels, the e-tron Sportback concept is 4.90 m (16.1 ft) long, 1.98 m (6.5 ft) wide, and 1.53 m (5.0 ft) tall, with a wheelbase of 2.93 m (9.6 ft)—dimensions close to Audi’s A7. It uses a drive configuration that will be adopted in future Audi models with all-electric drive. One front and two rear motors power an electric quattro all-wheel drive propulsion system that puts out 320 kW, 370 kW in boost mode, for 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration in 4.5 s.
A 95-kW·h battery pack enables a range in excess of 500 m (310 mi), according to the New European Driving Cycle. The Sportback borrows the e-tron Quattro concept’s liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery positioned between the axles below the passenger compartment for a low center of gravity and a 52/48 (front/rear) axle load distribution. The battery can be charged by a Combined Charging System with dual connections for alternating and direct current.
Digitally controlled Matrix LED lighting units are at the front with tiny digital matrix projectors aiming light on the road ahead. A combination of LEDs and a micromirror-studded surface plus complex control technology enable a large number of lighting configurations.
As with many concept cars, small cameras replace the exterior mirrors. Audi claims that it is showing this technology as a concrete foretaste of the production version. The mirror technology offers advantages of not only improved air flow and reduced wind noise, but also the blind spot of the physical exterior mirror is virtually eliminated as is the obstruction to the diagonal forward view. Camera images are shown on separate displays in the doors.
In its consciously light-colored interior, information is displayed on the concept’s expansive touch-sensitive screens below the central display, on the center console, and in the door trims. A seemingly floating center console conveys a sense of openness for the occupants of four individual seats.