Audi will manufacture and sell more sporty performance versions of its E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback electric cars, which are powered by a three-engine system, the company said on Friday. The news comes when the parent company describes Volkswagen Audi as "leading in research and development" for the entire Volkswagen Group.
The new performance models are referred to as the E-Tron S and E-Tron Sportback S, and Audi says that they will be "more agile, sharper and more dynamic" than the non-S variants. All thanks to a third electric motor (two on the rear axle, one on the front axle) that increases the total output from 265 kW to 320 kW or 370 kW in an 8-second boost mode. (That's about 350, 429, and 496 horsepower, respectively.) Both vehicles can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 4.3 seconds, which is a little over a second faster than the standard versions.
This spec is not stunning compared to some other electric vehicles on the road, Tesla or others, but for what is supposedly still a four-door luxury vehicle, it's powerful enough.
More power and a more aggressive look
Audi did not say when the S versions would be available or how much more they would cost. The company says the S-models will be "the first mass-produced three-motor electric cars worldwide," but it will have to be hectic to make this claim, since Tesla will be working on a three-engine powertrain code-named "Plaid" Model S, X, the second generation roadster and probably even the Cybertruck. (Tesla announced that the top-line version of the truck will use three engines.)
The big question is how does the extra power affect the range of the E-Tron.
Audi tells The Verge that the S versions will use the same 95 kWh battery as the standard E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback. The standard E-Tron (currently the only one on the road) pushes a little over 200 miles out of this battery. Adding another motor would mean more weight, and higher performance could make it easier to discharge the battery even faster. It will be seen how Audi wants to deal with this balance.
The interesting thing about the three-engine setup is that Audi says that not everyone will be constantly busy. According to the company, only the rear electric motors work in “normal driving”. The front engine "switches itself on – the driver hardly notices it – when the driver needs more power" in situations where the car needs more grip, e.g. B. in slippery conditions or in fast corners. The three-engine setup also allows the car to perform some torque transfer – in other words, to provide different axles or wheels with different power in real time to give the car the maximum grip for any scenario.
Audi has only released slightly camouflaged photos of the E-Tron S, and visually it is largely similar to the standard E-Tron, but is somewhat more aggressive. This is partly due to larger wheel arches, air ducts and a more distinctive diffuser.