International press sample the Audi e-tron on the road for the first time.
6 December, 2018
Only months after the official unveiling of the first all-electric series production vehicle from the brand, the Audi e-tron has made its on-road debut, with press from around the globe sampling the vehicle for the first time in real world driving.
The venue for the first official test drives was the United Arab Emirates, with journalists given the opportunity to put the e-tron through its paces in a wide variety of conditions to see just how the all-electric Audi delivers on the road as well as in off-road conditions.
From the sustainable community of Masdar City up into the mountains, the e-tron kept its cool and demonstrated why it represents the future of mobility, quiet, powerful yet efficient and supremely capable regardless of the conditions, road surface or driving style. Yet the Audi e-tron demonstrates above all that efficiency and sustainability and emission-free driving need not come at the expense of comfort or more accurately in the case of the e-tron, luxurious appointment. The e-tron does everything you’d expect from a luxurious SUV, yet does it whisper quietly and without emissions.
From the sustainable community of Masdar City up into the mountains, the e-tron kept its cool and demonstrated why it represents the future of mobility
Conditions and temperatures in this part of the world are absolutely unforgiving
Fittingly the drive began in the green community of Masdar City, right next to Abu Dhabi International Airport. This low-carbon community is made up of a rapidly growing residential neighbourhood, clean-tech cluster and free zone. It is currently home to more than 590 small-to-medium-sized businesses as well as multinational companies and public sector tenants and is also the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Conditions in this part of the world are unforgiving, with constant high temperatures and dry, dusty conditions, particularly in some of the areas the Audi e-trons found themselves. But with more than five million kilometres completed by the Audi e-tron prototype fleet in conditions even more severe, the ‘heavy lifting’ has well and truly been done to ensure that the production Audi e-tron handles everything thrown at it and does it with style.
Desert highways, on and off the road in tough sandy conditions or climbing the mountain roads to Jebel Hafeet, the second highest mountain in the UAE proved a veritable walk in the park for the Audi e-tron, with the run back down the mountain offering the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the vehicle’s innovative recuperation system.
On average in more than 90 percent of all deceleration, the electric motors operate as generators and convert the SUV’s kinetic energy into electrical energy, contributing up to 30 percent of the range. It operates intelligently with the electro-hydraulically integrated brake control system. Audi is the world’s first manufacturer to use this in an electrically driven series-production vehicle. Depending on the driving situation, the brake control system decides whether the car uses the electric motor, wheel brake or a combination of both to decelerate – with this taking place individually at each axle.
Part of the test drive took in gravel tracks and plenty of desert sand driving, where the electric quattro all-wheel drive system was in its element. The system offers permanent and variable regulation of the ideal drive torque distribution between the two axles – within fractions of a second to make easy work of the slick conditions. In addition it is intelligently networked with numerous chassis systems including the four-stage electronic stabilisation control, which can also be switched off completely, and the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system.
On average in more than 90 percent of all deceleration, the electric motors operate as generators and convert the SUV’s kinetic energy into electrical energy
Unflappable, highly manoeuvrable, powerful and luxurious, the Audi e-tron does everything effortlessly
This also affects the factory-fitted air suspension, so in off-road conditions such as these, the vehicle’s ground clearance is raised by 50 millimetres, but back on the highway, the aerodynamically designed body hunkers down by as much as 26 millimetres for even greater stability and improved aerodynamic performance.
The overall effect is one of a vehicle taking everything very much in its stride. Unflappable, highly manoeuvrable, powerful and luxurious, the Audi e-tron does everything effortlessly. With instantaneous power delivery, whisper quiet operation and the trademark Audi finish and appointment, it signals an exciting future, where e-mobility will very much take centre stage.
The Audi e-tron is set to make its Australian debut in mid-2019.
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