Audi is unveiling a new A8 sedan and setting it up with 48-volt circuitry to open up a wide range of electrification possibilities.
Making its debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona next month, the new A8 is the first Audi to come standard with an electrified drivetrain, with the sedan’s engines equipped with a mild hybrid system consisting of a watercooled belt alternator starter and a lithium-ion battery (located in the trunk).
The alternator starter is the key component in the turbocharged V-6 engine’s stop/start feature, where the engine shuts down as the car slows down for a traffic signal or in congested traffic. Once the brake is released, the engine starts up immediately (whether that happens at the end of a prolonged stint at a red light or once the car stops decelerating as it enters a roundabout). The engine also shuts down under coasting at speeds between 55 km/h and 160 km/h, and will stay off for up to 40 seconds or until the driver applies the throttle.
The stop/start system is also linked in with the adaptive cruise control, so that the engine starts up if the road ahead is clear, or in rush-hour traffic when the vehicle in front moves ahead (even if the A8 brake pedal is still depressed). It also relies on cameras and sensors to judge where the A8 is coasting or regenerating, adapting the flow of energy to the battery as needed. Of course, all this interconnectivity of systems will also contribute to autonomous driving scenarios, once the self-driving technology becomes accepted for mass consumption.
The mild hybrid system is reported to save fuel to the tune of 0.7 litres per 100 km, over just the internal combustion engine powertrain. The current model’s 310-hp 3.0-litre turbocharged V-6 is rated at a combined 7.8 L/100 km.
More information on the mild hybrid system and further specs will be available at the car’s launch July 11 in Barcelona.