Audi’s e-tron SUV will be fitted with a high-tech recuperation system so clever that, if you live around some very large hills, it could theoretically keep driving forever.
That’s the promise from Audi, at least. In releasing more detail about its e-tron today, the German brand claims every kilometre its electric SUV travels downhill adds roughly another kilometre in range.
The claim was put to the test in a number of prototypes at Pikes Peak in the USA, with the 31km downhill run adding about the same distance to the car’s 400km range.
The secret, Audi says, is that the e-tron “will offer most innovative recuperation concept among the competitors”, with a three-pronged energy recuperation strategy that uses the brakes, the electric motors or a combination of the two.
For most gentle braking manoeuvres, the e-tron regathers power using the electric motors and not the conventional brake, with the driver able to select how much energy is regathered (ie: how quickly the car slows when not accelerating) via the paddle shifters. Audi says the most extreme setting gives the e-tron a “one-pedal feeling”, with the driver rarely having to touch the brake at all.
For more urgent stopping, the driver can use the brake pedal, with a new electrohydraulic system providing more energy recuperation, with the added benefit of shortening how long it takes to come to a stop in an emergency braking situation by around 20 per cent.
Perhaps the best news, though, is that when it comes to using all that regenerated power, the e-tron promises to be plenty of fun. Powered by two electric motors with a combined output of 265kW and 561Nm, Audi is also promising a “boost mode” in sport mode that will up power to 300kW and 664Nm for spells of up to eight seconds.
In its angriest settings, the e-tron will clip 100km/h on less than six seconds, and push on to a limited top speed of 200km/h.
The e-tron will be unveiled in full on September 17, and is expected to arrive in Australia next year.