Audi e-tron Sportback concept revealed at Shanghai
The second of Audi’s three electric cars that will be on sale by the end of the decade will be a production version of the new e-tron Sportback concept, revealed by the German manufacturer at the Shanghai Motor Show.
Confirmed for production in 2019, the concept will enter what Audi is calling a ‘completely new segment’ for fully electric coupe SUVs. The e-tron Sportback will follow the production version of the e-tron quattro concept into showrooms, which arrives next year, and will sit alongside that model as a style-led alternative.
For that reason the e-tron Sportback is based on the same MLB chassis – the same architecture that also underpins the Q7 SUV – rather than the VW Group’s new MEB architecture develop exclusively for electric vehicles. Auto Express understands an all-electric model from Audi based on the MEB platform will follow in 2020.
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Under the skin three electric motors – two mounted on the rear axle and one on the front – combine to develop 429bhp and up to 800Nm of torque. A boost function ups power to 496bhp for ten second bursts of flat out acceleration. Audi claims 0-62mph is achievable in 4.5 seconds.
In a similar to way to Telsa, Audi is also considering offering the e-tron Sportback with a range of power outputs.
The motors are powered by a 95kwh lithium-ion battery, which when fully charged, is claimed to be capable of covering up to a 310 miles. Under normal driving conditions the e-tron Sportback is front-wheel drive, but when the car detects slip power is sent to the rear axle to maximize traction. Torque vectoring has also been fitted to the rear axle to boost agility when cornering.
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The launch of the e-tron Sportback in 2019 will also coincide with a roll out of ultra fast charging point Audi is helping to develop along with Daimler and BMW. The 150kwh units will be able to provide an 80 per cent battery change in around 30 minutes. Audi is also working on a wireless charging station that customers will be able to install at home.
Proportionally, the e-tron Sportback is a similar length to an A7, but at 1,530mm tall it’s roughly the same height as a Q2. Neat design tricks such as the two-tone black and silver roof help mask the concept’s inflated proportions, while the sunken bonnet and inverted front grille will become trademark e-tron design cues.
Designers have also been at work developing a new lighting system for the e-tron Sportback. For the first time the Audi logos on the front and rear are made up of LEDs, while the Matrix LED headlamps are fitted with tiny Matrix projectors which can display graphics onto the road to tell other motorists and pedestrians which direction the car will be turning.
Lighting is a theme that continues inside, as the e-tron Sportback is the first vehicle to use electro lighting surfaces. A material no thicker than 0.02mm, the material is connected to the car’s onboard electrics system and illuminates when the car is started. In the e-tron Sportback the material is used on the centre console and sections of the seats to create an sense of lightness and space.
Elsewhere inside, two hi-res digital displays make up the dash and centre console. Both feature haptic feedback, with the only physical buttons in the cabin located on the gearlever selector. As small digital cameras have replaced the conventional wing mirrors, Audi has fitted small digital displays in the upper sections of the doors which relay the visuals to those inside.
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