Advance Look at the Series: The Audi Q4 e-tron concept
• Presented at Geneva Motor Show: a compact electric SUV with all-wheel drive
• Thanks to versatile efficiency technologies, the Audi Q4 e-tron has a range of more than 450 kilometres
• As Audi brand's fifth electric model, the Q4 production version is to be launched at the end of 2020
Roughly a year has passed since the first series production electric drive Audi was debuted in Geneva (as of March 5, 2019). Audi is now presenting an advance look at a further all-electric drive automobile at the Geneva Motor Show: The Audi Q4 e-tron concept is a compact four-door SUV with an exterior length of 4.59 meters. Its relation to the Audi e-tron is apparent from first glance.
The Q4 e-tron concept utilises two electric motors which assemble 225 kW of system power. Similarly to some Audi models, the driving power of the concept vehicle is enabled by quattro all-wheel drive. The concept vehicle accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds, thanks to the concept vehicle's excellent traction. It reaches maximum speed at an electronically limited 180 km/h. A 82 kilowatt hours capacity battery fills most of the space in the underbody area between the axles. Its range of over 450 kilometres - in line with the WLTP standard - sets the benchmark in its class. The Q4 e-tron concept houses technology which controls the modular electrification platform (MEB), which will be integrated in numerous electric vehicles produced by the Volkswagen Group in the future, from the compact class to the superior medium-size class.
The Audi Q4 e-tron concept gives an advance look at their fifth series production electric vehicle that will be introduced by the end of 2020. The Audi e-tron sales have already started, with the first vehicles being delivered to the customers before the end of March 2019. Later in the year, Audi will present the e-tron sportsback, as well as, the Audi Q2L e-tron GT; designed specifically for the Chinese market. In the second half of 2020, the production version of the four-door high-performance coupé Audi e-tron GT - being developed at Audi Sport GmbH - is planned to be presented. The compact Q4 e-tron is set to make its production debut at the same time. With these models, Audi will cover all important market segments under all-electric drive vehicles, from the A segment to the full-size class, all in under two years after the launch of the first electric car.
Dimensions and Interior
Compact on the outside, spacious on the inside.
The Audi Q4 e-tron concept takes its position in the upper third of the compact class with its dimensions: 4.59 meters long, 1.90 meters wide, 1.61 meters tall. Its road space requirements thus qualify the electric SUV as an agile all-rounder that is also suitable for city driving. When it comes to the interior, the wheelbase of 2.77 metres puts the vehicle at least one class higher. The Q4 e-tron concept offers unsuspected spaciousness and comfort, as a result of no transmission tunnel restricting space. This also means there are vast amounts of leg room both at the front and in the rear.
The spaciousness is further highlighted by the electric SUV's colour scheme. The upper section of the cabin is dominated by light, warm colours, whilst the dark carpet in the floor section provides a contrast. The headlining, the window pillars and the upper section of the door rail and dash panel are fitted with white and beige microfiber textiles. In the Audi e-tron concept, sustainability is a top priority in more than just the electric drive: The floor covering is made of recycled materials. In replacement of chrome-plated metal decor frames, the surfaces are covered with a high-quality multi-layer paint finish. The vehicle features four seats with integrated head restraints - upholstered with comfortable Alcantara material - double stitched with thick yarn.
Located behind the steering wheel, the virtual cockpit display features the most important display elements for speed, charge level and navigation. A new feature of the electric SUV is the augmented reality function. It has the ability to display important graphical information, including; directional arrows for turning, directly on the course of the road.
Designed as touch elements on the steering wheel spokes, control panels can be used to select frequently used functions. In the middle above the centre console, the Q4 e-tron concept features a 12.3 inch touchscreen. It is tilted toward the driver for increased ease of operation. Due to the lack of functional elements such as a gear lever, the centre console is designed as a spacious stowage compartment that includes a mobile phone charging cradle.
Visibly Audi, visibly e-tron.
The Q4 e-tron concept is easily identifiable as an Audi at first glance by the single frame with the Audi logo, the four rings. The vehicle's exterior is also undeniably part of the electric Audi e-tron family. Similar to the first production Audi with electric drive, the new concept vehicle also features a structured closed surface within an almost upright octagonal frame, instead of the traditional radiator grille. Air is supplied via large inlets which are integrated below the LED headlights.
The widened features of the Q4 e-tron concept are designed to be highly organic and flowing, whilst also adding characteristics to the side view. The potential of the Audi e-tron concept is undoubtable with its 22 inch wheels. The vehicles roof line features a slightly slanted element, increasing the dynamic feel of the design. A further design element featured on the e-tron models is the broad light band that connects the rear lamp units.
Lastly, the "Solar Sky" body paint - a shade of blue that adapts depending on the angle of the light - is a sustainable innovation in two senses. The paint, which was developed specifically for the electric SUV and produced under environmentally friendly conditions, effectively reflects a short-wave fraction of sunlight, near the infrared spectrum. This feature significantly reduces the build-up of heat on the surface of the body and interior. As well as benefitting the subjective well-being of the occupants, it also benefits the vehicles range and global carbon footprint as it reduces the energy input required for air-conditioning.
Drive System and Suspension
The modular electrification platform (MEB) offers a broad range of drive variants and power levels. Both front and rear axles are each powered by an electric motor (as the Q4 is a quattro). There is no mechanical connection between the axles. In place of traditional mechanics, the Q4 e-tron concept features an electronic control which ensures that the torque distribution is coordinated optimally and quickly; enabling the electric SUV to achieve optimum traction in all weather conditions and any type of surface.
In most cases, the Audi Q4 e-tron concept mainly uses its rear electric motor, a permanently excited synchronous motor, in order to achieve the highest efficiency. Similarly, the drive torque is generally distributed with a rear-axle bias. On the occasion the driver requires more power than the rear electric motor can supply, the electric all-wheel drive uses the front asynchronous motor to redistribute the torque as required to the front axle. This is also supplied in a predictive fashion, before slip occurs in icy conditions, when cornering fast or if the car understeers or over steers.
The electric motor in the rear end features an output of 150 kW and mobilises a torque of 310 newton metres; the front engine supplies the front wheels with up to 75 kW and 150 newton metres, whilst the system power is 225 kW. The electric SUV houses an 82 kilowatt hour battery which is stored in the vehicles floor. The battery allows the vehicle to range more than 450 kilometres according to the WLTP standard. The battery is also charged with a maximum of 125 kilowatts, resulting in recharging to 80 percent of the total capacity taking just over 30 minutes.
Having said that, the recipe for this excellent range involves far more than just a large capacity battery. Similar to the first member of the family, the Audi e-tron, the Audi Q4 e-tron concept also presents high performance when it comes to efficiency. From the low aerodynamic drag of the body, whose Cd value is 0.28, to the sophisticated recuperation strategy, the compact SUV uses every opportunity to optimise its range. The complex thermal management of the drive and battery, which involves a CO2 heat pump, also contributes to this.
Sporty, precise handling
A key factor of the sporty characteristics and outstanding transverse dynamics is the low and central position at which the drive components are installed. The high-voltage battery system is optimally matched to the dimensions of the Audi Q4 e-tron concept and is located between axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. The entire battery system weighs 510 kilograms. The centre of gravity of the Audi Q4 e-tron concept as a result, is at a similar level to that of a sedan with a conventional drive system. Axle load distribution is perfectly balanced at almost 50:50. The front wheels of the Q4 e-tron concept are guided on a MacPherson axle with adaptive dampers. In the rear, there is a multi-link axle with separate springs and adaptive dampers.
The Modular Electrification Platform (MEB): the base
MLB, MQB - modular longitudinal platform and modular lateral platform: These component systems for vehicle development represent a great success story in all segments of Audi and the Volkswagen Group. Previous platforms were designed primarily for the use of combustion engines. The modular electrification platform was designed specifically and exclusively for automobiles with electric drive systems. Axles, drives, wheelbases and the interaction between all components are selected and adapted specifically for e-mobility. The placement of the large-volume battery units and their geometry can be optimised without having to make concessions to other drive concepts that must always be taken into account in the MLB and MQB. Whilst, huge synergy potential can be opened up with the MEB. This platform serves as the basis primarily for electric cars in the high-volume A segment, allowing the best technology available to be developed jointly across brands and used in many different electric cars. In particular, the MEB also helps electric mobility to break through even in the particularly price-sensitive compact segment.
Electric Offensive: twelve all-electric drive models by 2025
Audi launched its electric offensive with the world premiere of the all-electric SUV Audi e-tron in September 2018. By 2025, Audi will offer twelve automobiles with all-electric drive, all in the most important markets worldwide, whilst achieving roughly one-third of its sales with electrified models. The SUVs within this portfolio include the e-tron and the e-tron Sportback due to make its debut in 2019. Additionally, there will be a range of models with classic body layout such as Avant and Sportback. The range will cover every relevant market segment from the compact class to the luxury class. The Audi e-tron GT concept show car, a highly dynamic coupé with a low floor, made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2018. The technology in this automobile was developed in collaboration with Porsche; the design and character of the e-tron GT concept are packed full of more apparent Audi DNA. The project will be developed into volume-production models by the end of 2020. The Premium Platform Electric (PPE) is a special joint project of the development departments at Audi and Porsche. It will be the foundation for multiple Audi model families with all-electric drive covering the high-volume B through D segments.
Take a closer look at the Audi e-tron or contact Caffyns Audi today for more information.