A dose of practical magic – Audi Future Lab: Mobility

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October 24, 2012

By: Joel Boucher

Munich, Germany – With the recent introduction of e-tron technology in the Le Mans winning R18 e-tron quattro, it was only a matter of time until the same Audi future engines began to trickle down into consumer sport and urban concept vehicles, for good reason. With increasing demand for the perfect balance of efficiency and power, it seems as natural a fit as Bratwurst und Bier.

The Audi A1 e-tron proves that the future will be dynamic, efficient, kinder to the environment and your wallet.

Utilizing a dual-mode hybrid system with a 1.5 litre 3cyl mid mounted engine producing 97kW (130hp) mated to a 51kW electric motor responsible for starting the petrol engine as well as generating/recovering energy lost during electric operation. The front mounted electric motor produces 86.5kW, driving the front wheels via a single-speed transmission.

 The A1 e-tron accelerates from 0-100km/h in around 9 seconds, speedy considering the additional weight of the e-tron system. Under speeds of 30km/h the e-tron system fully propels the car. Under heavy acceleration the petrol engine engages via the rear electric motor for additional power on demand. Under deceleration the claw-clutch system in the rear electric motor engages, recuperating lost energy.

Audi had on display the R8 e-tron that set the fastest time for a series-production vehicle on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, a blistering 8:09.099, this past June. This car is identical in every way to the series-production model slated to be available at the end of this year. Incorporating a state of the art ultra-lightweight ASF (Audi Space Frame) aluminum, the R8 e-tron weights in at 1,780 kilograms (dry), including the battery unit.

The T shaped lithium – ion battery feeding the system is mounted in the center tunnel and transversely in front of the rear axle. A powerful 48.6 kWh of energy is stored in this battery, good for 215 kilometers of travel at “normal” speeds. However, if plant your right foot down, something necessary to break speed records for instance, you can expect much less in terms of overall range.

Two electric motors work in harmony, and a stout 280kW (381hp) and 820Nm (607 lb/ft) of torque is sent to the rear wheels. 0-100 km/h is achieved in a quick 4.6 seconds, while top speed is limited to 200 km/h. To achieve its record braking run at the Nurburgring in June, the limit was increased to 250 km/h.

Audi’s new  A3 Sportback TCNG – TFSI combined with CNG (compressed natural gas), is a mouthful of efficiency, and the future of low emission vehicles. As part of Audis commitment to the CO2-neutral mobility program, this A3 represents Audi’s focus on renewable energies to fuel tomorrow.

Powered by an all new 1.4L TFSI engine, producing 81 kW (110hp) and 200 Nm of torque, the A3 Sportback TCNG is capable of speeds in excess of 190 km/h while only consuming 3.6 kilograms of CNG (e-gas) per 100km. The A3 Sportback TCNG features a dual injector system for both natural gas and petrol operation, which can be switched seamlessly during operation.

Scheduled for launch in 2013 , The Audi A3 Sportback TCNG can run on sustainably generated Audi e-gas, the worlds first synthetic natural gas made from CO2 and renewable forms of electricity (wind power). The first step in creating this fully synthetic fuel uses electrolysis to convert renewable electricity into hydrogen (Audi e-hydrogen). When the hydrogen is combined with C02 during the methanization process the resulting material is synthetic, renewable natural gas (Audi e-gas). This newly created synthetic gas can be fed directly into the natural gas network and stored for future use.

For 2013 Audi e-gas production is estimated to run 1,500 Audi A3 Sportback TCNGs CO₂-neutrally for 15,000 kilometers per year, with an A4 TCNG slated for a 2015 release. We’ll be eagerly awaiting to test this new technology as it’s made public and look forward to the positive environmental impact it holds for the future of our planet and all of its 6,973,738,433 inhabitants.


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