Audi unveils new e-tron AND new SUV

New large SUV and latest EV happen to be the same vehicle

Published: August 25, 2015, 5:00 AM
Updated: August 26, 2015, 5:52 PM

Audi e-tron quattro concept

Audi has announce it will be showing off its newest large sport utility vehicle and its latest electric vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show. They just both happen to be the same vehicle.

Audi says the e-tron quattro concept would slot in between the Q5 and Q7 in the company’s current SUV lineup, and represents its first foray into the large EV segment. Rumours have Audi calling it a Q6 e-tron if/when it reaches production.

The company says the e-tron quattro concept was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle, and ended up with the bodystyle and size as a result of fitting in all the necessary driving system components and people-space features desirable to buyers.

For example, the positioning of a large lithium-ion battery (to reportedly provide some 500 km of driving range) below the passenger cabin required the higher floor of an SUV if the vehicle were to maintain the comfort expectations for its four occupants.

As a benefit, that also lowered the centre of gravity and evened out the weight distribution to aid in driving dynamics – a key cornerstone of the Audi brand philosophy.

Driving range is further improved by aerodynamics, with the low coefficient of drag (0.25 Cd) reportedly setting a record for air-flow around an SUV. That was accomplished with a completely sealed underbody and a series of automatically adjusting flaps at the front, side and rear.

The design sketch shows a vehicle little removed from the current Audi SUV design, with the biggest noticeable change being a more upright grille and reduced ground clearance, both of which result from the modifications noted above. The lowered roof also contributes to a reduction in drag and helps create a sleeker, almost coupe-like profile.

The drivetrain uses an electric motor at the front and two at the rear – in a manner similar to the current R8 e-tron sports car – to replicate the four-wheel drive for which Audi is renowned.