Frankfurt motor show: Audi concept points to Q6 model

500km range and inductive charging for the upcoming all-electric Q6 SUV

The Audi Quattro electric drive  unveiled on Monday night ahead of the Frankfurt motor show: showcases the upcoming Q6 model

The Audi Quattro electric drive unveiled on Monday night ahead of the Frankfurt motor show: showcases the upcoming Q6 model

 

Audi is calling this a ‘concrete foretaste’ of its upcoming all-electric SUV, which is due to go on sale in 2018. Expect the production model to be called the Q6, but for the moment we’ll have to make do with this e-Tron quattro concept.

It’s a 4.8-metre long crossover, that slots neatly between the current Q5 and newly-launched Q7 in size terms, while riding on the same MPB platform as the Q7. The styling at the front is distinctly more muscular and more heavily detailed than that of the Q7, but one must remember that this is still a concept, so it could become much more conventional and toned down for production. Expect the very low, flat roof and chopped-off rear end to stick around though.

Audi claims that the car registers an aerodynamic drag figure of just 0.25Cd – impressive for a class where more than 0.30Cd is the norm. That figure is helped by computer controlled air suspension which lowers the car at motorway speeds to make it even more slippery. There are also electrically adjusted body panels which extend at speeds of above 80kmh to accentuate the car’s slippery nature.

Power comes from a stack of rechargeable 95kWh lithium-ion batteries, which feed their current to three electric motors – one for the front wheels and one each for the rears. Normally, the power output is rated at 430hp, but Audi says that for brief bursts, that power can be increased to almost 500hp, along with 800Nm of torque. The e-Tron quattro concept is said to have a 0-100kmh time of 4.6secs and a maximum, governed, speed of 210kmh.

Not only can the electric motors distribute power to the wheels individually, as the situation demands, but Audi says that the car also has a sophisticated four-wheel-steering system both for extra agility on the road and to make it easier to wriggle in and out of tight parking spots.

500km touring range

Audi also claims that the concept is good for a 500km touring range between charge-ups, which can take as little as 50-minutes from a fast-charging DC current point. The concept has been equipped with a ‘Combined Charging System’ so that it can charge from DC or AC power, depending on where you come to a stop. There’s also a built in system that can charge the car inductively, meaning you can charge it up without a cable simply by parking over an inductive charging point.

There’s a great deal of other technology being revealed on this concept, not least of which is Audi’s new lighting system which combines conventional LEDs, organic LEDs (or OLED) arranged in a flat panel and backed up by a laser light system.

There are more OLED panels inside too, used for the instrument layout, where their thin nature means, says Audi, that they can be cut and shaped as needed. Up front, there are three OLED displays – one for instruments, one for infotainment and one for controlling Audi’s autonomous ‘Piloted Drive’ systems, which means that Audi is expecting to bring at least some components of robotic self-driving to the market in the Q6. The concept study is equipped with all the technologies that Audi has developed for piloted driving: radar sensors, a video camera, ultrasonic sensors and a laser scanner. The data these supply come together in the central driver assistance controller (zFAS) in the luggage compartment. It computes a complete model of the car’s surroundings in real time and makes this information available to all assistance systems and the systems for piloted driving.

More OLED displays take care of the drivetrain selector and even replace conventional wing mirrors.

Practical crossover

For all its technological advancement, it’s also pretty practical – Audi claims that it has a 615-litre boot, helped by having the batteries stacked in the centre of the car, under the floor.

“Audi will present an all-electric, luxury-class sport SUV in early 2018. The Audi e-tron quattro concept provides a concrete foretaste of this,” says Prof Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s head of technical development. “It combines driving pleasure with great range, an expressive design and excellent comfort.”