- The E-Tron prototype was tested with an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.28.
- The electric SUV will also come with optional virtual exterior mirrors.
- The low drag figure will translate into an electric range of 400 kilometres.
The E-Tron will be the first production electric vehicle from Audi. It was showcased in concept guise at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Now the German carmaker has started testing the E-Tron’s production-ready prototype. Audi claims that the E-Tron prototype has an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.28.
A low drag coefficient means larger range per charge for any vehicle. This drag figure of 0.28 is one of the best for an SUV and a big advantage for an electric vehicle. Audi claims that this figure will translate into an electric range of 400 kilometres under WLTP cycle. Tested at the Wind Tunnel Center in Ingolstadt, the E-Tron underwent 1000 hours of testing with a fan speed of up to 300kmph.
To achieve a drag coefficient of 0.28, the Audi claims to have developed a wide range of aerodynamics measures in all body areas. The most evident among them is the optional virtual exterior mirrors. These first-of-its-kind mirrors are narrower than conventional ones and they reduce the width of the car by 15cm. The flat supporter of the wing mirror has an integrated camera which captures images which can then be seen on the instrument panels. They have three viewing modes - highway driving, turning and parking.
Another addition is an adaptive air suspension, which comes as standard. The suspension can lower the ride height at speeds above 120kmph, thus reducing the drag. The flat underbody also helps the cause. Even the under panel bolts are designed with indentation to allow better airflow underneath the car.
Upfront, the grille has electrically adjustable louvres. When the louvres are shut, there is virtually no swirl around the car. But they open up when the drivetrain needs cooling. The vehicle also has additional ducts to streamline the airflow around the wheels. The wheels are flatter than conventional ones and are wrapped with 255/55 sized tyres for low rolling resistance.
The E-Tron Prototype is a five-seater electric SUV powered by a 15kW battery pack. The styling is typical Audi with cascading grille, Q3-like headlights, and sleek single strip LED tail lights. Production of the E-Tron is expected to commence later this year. When the new E-Tron takes to the streets it will have an electrified competition from the likes of Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace apart from the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQC and BMW iNEXT.