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Audi Conquers Range Anxiety With Fast Charging For 2019 e-tron SUV

Audi Conquers Range Anxiety With Fast Charging For 2019 e-tron SUV

Audi started designing the Quattro all-wheel-drive e-tron SUV back in 2014. Nearly five years later, on the grounds of the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center outside Abu Dhabi, Anno Mertens, Product Manager Electrification, explains, “We not only set up the product planning for the car itself. That’s what we always do. But in this case, we had a separate column in parallel to the car product planning: we did the car charging product planning as well.”

Dr. Mertens and I are in Abu Dhabi for the global launch of Audi e-tron all-electric Quattro all-wheel-drive SUV. A modern and high-tech five-seater, the e-tron offers a very clear view into a zero-emission mobility future. And that future is delightfully, blessedly normal.  While the EPA hasn’t released the exact range of the e-tron, the 95 kWh of energy, 396 volts nominal voltage battery should deliver about 250 miles for the German engineered, Brussels-produced crossover.

In developing the e-tron, Audi’s first priority was delivering a vehicle that is authentically Audi Quattro, with elegant lines, AWD and cutting-edge technology. This particular offering just happens to be an electric vehicle. And thanks to Dr. Mertens and his colleagues, the battery and charging were not an afterthought, but instead integral to the development process.

“We did 3 things,” Dr. Mertens says, adjusting his 6’-plus athletic frame as he warms to his subject. “We said we need to enable long distance driving. This means you’re going beyond the range of your car and you need to stop at a rest station.” According to Audi’s domestic research, most travelers in Germany stop for about 20 minutes for coffee, a rest room break, etc. “We put 150 kw in the car, enabling 29 minutes for an 80% charge, which was acceptable for our customers,” Dr. Mertens explains.

The second thing Audi did was to address the infrastructure needed to enable this new 150 kw battery. “Very early on, 4 years ago, I started discussing with the competitors how could we deal with this? How can we make sure drivers have 150 kw hours available on the road?” questions Dr. Martens.

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