Audi seems to be working on taking its Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system to the next level by mating it to an electric drive system. According to records dug up by Autocar UK, the German manufacturer had recently filed for two patents, one for an e-Quattro all-wheel-drive system while the other one is for flaps on alloy wheels.
The e-Quattro system will use an electrically-driven rear axle. The patent for the software system uses the wheel sensors to detect the point at which one of the wheels might break traction on a slippery surface. Targeted at hybrid cars, the system will also capture energy from an enhanced version of the regenerative braking system as opposed to the traditional systems which tend to lock up under braking.
The other patent is for dynamic hinged flaps between the spokes of an alloy wheel. A similar version of these was previously seen on the Ford Atlas concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The flaps move radially over the spokes as the wheel speeds up, to create a completely flat wheel cover. This flat cover will help improve air flow over the wheels thus reducing drag and improving efficiency.
The e-Quattro system does seem like an interesting feature to be implemented in a car, though we find it hard to justify the use of the wheel flaps to improve efficiency. It isn’t always necessary that all patents registered by a company to materialise someday, and the wheel flaps seem to be one of those.
Source: Autocar UK