German car maker Audi is gearing up to introduce the all-electric e-tron Sportback. But just before it does, it has one little tech trick up its sleeve, announcing on Friday (Australian time) that it is also adding an extra 25km to the driving range.
Audi says the increase in the driving range of the e-tron 55 Quattro SUV to 436km on the WLTP cycle is the result of improvements in efficiency via software upgrades and optimising drive system hardware.
A technical update that will be standard in all models, the upgrade is somewhat different to the software-based upgrade sent over-the-air recently by Tesla that improved the power and range of the Model 3 by around 6%.
According to Audi, there are two-fold improvements centering around the way the vehicle brakes, and the way it handles motor engagement while driving.
In the wheels, developers have introduced a new wheel brake which reduced losses caused by the proximity of the calipers to the brake disc – so-called residual braking torque.
The drive system is also becoming more efficient: in normal driving conditions, the engine on the rear axle provides propulsion as standard.
Now, thanks to the optimisations, the front electric motor is almost completely decoupled and runs without power or losses due to drag. Only when the driver requests more power, do both motors come into play.
As a result, the usable range of the high-voltage battery has increased, with the 95kWh battery of the Audi e-tron 55 quattro now providing 86.5kWh of usable energy.
The technology upgrade benefits all newly produced models, and Audi says the starting price of the Audi e-tron 55 Quattro will remain at €80,900 ($A131,646 converted).
After the launch of the new e-tron Sportback, Audi will also introduce a second 50 Quattro motor variant for both variants.
While the 50 quattro with 346km driving range will begin at €71,350 ($A116,105 converted), the e-tron SUV which will offer 336km driving range (WLTP) and startat €69,100 ($A112,444 converted).
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.