The Audi E-Tron is technically a prototype but if you peel off the stickers it will suddenly turn into a production-ready vehicle that will be hitting the streets by the end of the year. The design language that you’ll find in this car will carry down through all of Audi’s future electric vehicles so it’s worth taking a deep dive on the E-Tron.
The E-Tron interior screams futuristic, but it’s not so far out there that we can’t imagine living in it. There are five screens surrounding you, the fully digital instrument cluster, the infotainment system, and the touchscreen mounted lower on the center console for the climate control settings as seen in high-end Audis like the A8, Q8, A7, and A6. The final two screen are OLED displays mounted in the doors showing acting as the virtual mirrors.
Virtul Mirror – Tech for Tech or a Good Idea?
In many ways, it’s even more of a technology hub than Audi’s modern vehicles. The virtual mirrors see to that. Not only do they eliminate your blind spot or turn them down to see the curb while parking, invaluable if you have expensive rims that you don’t want scratching the curb. Those are both nice addons but that’s not really the big added value, it’s about putting them in the real world so Audi’s engineers can start to gather data on how the cameras could be used for autonomous drive, smart city infrastructure and to develop better use cases for virtual mirrors in your car.
The president has also already been set with the rear camera, this has become such an invaluable tool that those who always had one are hard pressed to drive without it. It’s easy to make a case that having a single panoramic video view may be an improvement over the combination of old and new technology now deployed in cars that use a rearview camera and traditional side mirrors.
Sometimes cool technology is nice to have, but in other cases, it can be about beginning the discussion for legalization and pushing development. The E-Tron will be the first car to launch with virtual mirrors as an option. They won’t be legal all over the world, but you will be able to get them in Germany.
The mirrors not only change the driving experience inside the car, but they also affect its performance.
To tell you a bit about the heart of the Audi E-Tron it’s a pair of electric motors providing a combined output of 355 horsepower (265 kilowatts) for a sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) in less than 6 seconds and a top speed of about 200 kph (124 mph). Using the automatic transmission selector to enable Sport mode will offer a temporary maximum power of 402 hp (300 kW).
The Belgium-built electric crossover will rely on a 95-kWh battery with enough juice for approximately 400 km (248.5 miles) in the WLTP cycle, which will be possible partly thanks to the E-Tron’s aerodynamic body with a drag coefficient of just 0.28. The low Cd number was achieved by replacing the bulky mirrors with the tiny cameras, thus making the vehicle narrower by 15 centimeters (5.9 inches). These virtual mirrors will be offered as optional equipment,
If you’re wondering how fast you’ll be able to charge it, using a 150-kW high-voltage charger will “fill up” the pack in just 30 minutes while with a 400-volt three-phase outlet it will take approximately 8 hours and 30 minutes.
The inside is otherwise as posh as you’d expect from a modern Audi, with soft surfaces everywhere, plenty of optional illumination and a 705W, 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system There is a clever touch in the driving mode selector, though — the “gear” lever doubles as a hand rest. Audi is promising “top-class” room for five people and their cargo, thanks in no small part to the absence of the usual tunnel at the back.
Be sure to weigh in on what you do and don’t like…maybe even influence the design decision of future cars. Since we know for a fact the engineers at Audi are regularly creeping the comments on our humble blog.