As Audi debuted its new electric car, the e-tron, at the opening of Australia’s first ultra-fast EV charging station in Victoria yesterday, the German carmaker has showed off the handling of the all-electric SUV in off-road conditions.
Driven by German Formula E racing car driver Daniel Abt, Audi’s answer to the the zero emissions SUV crowd not only holds on to the sandy gravel of the Namibian desert where Audi is testing the all-electric SUV, but also stands up to the extreme heat using its thermal management systems.
There’s more than just sand whirling through the #Namibian desert: With its electric all-wheel drive, the #Audi #etron is a #joy to drive off-road as well as on the highway. pic.twitter.com/Dvpgp58hX0
— AUDI AG (@Audi_Press) October 25, 2018
Because extremes can affect the performance of the battery – and hence range – Audi have been testing the e-tron out in extreme locations, from Swedish Lapland at temperatures of -20° Celcius to the 50°+ heat of Namibia.
The thermal management systems that Audi has built into the 300kW output all-wheel drive make use of heat generated by electrical components to heat or cool the cabin as necessary, as well as keep the electric motor cool.
A heat pump also helps to regulate the 95kWh 400km (WLTP) range battery, adding up to 10% range depending on ambient temperatures.
Daniel whips the e-tron around dusty corners on the desert track, also displaying the abilities of the e-tron’s braking system which smoothly transitions from electric to hydraulic as needed.
When the e-tron is launched in Australia next year, it seems it has already proven its suitability for our hot conditions.
Audi is optimistic about sales when it does get here, but as a spokesperson said at the Chargefox EV charger launch yesterday, Audi would like to see more support for uptake from government.
Audi Australia’s director of product planning and pricing Shawn Ticehurst told Car Advice, “What would really set it off would be more incentives, government-wise, to really encourage people to take up this new technology as they’ve done in Europe, and California, and other places in the world.
You can watch the whole video here, with Daniel himself introducing the drive (in German) here:
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.