Audi quattro in the age of the EV

We deep dive into Audi’s new electric drive architecture and EV quattro systems that see optimised torque distribution mated with zero tailpipe emissions to satisfy drivers keen to conquer terrain but add only tyre prints behind.

Audi are using the knowledge accumulated since 1980 for the next step. Electric quattro technology in the e-tron range marks the next milestone achievement in the age of electric mobility.

Electric vehicles have always been synonymous with economy and the environment, but rarely with driving performance. Until now.  

Electric vehicles have always been synonymous with economy and the environment, but rarely with driving performance. Until now that is. Audi’s latest e-tron range are infused with Audi’s legendary quattro DNA. As well as delivering the exhilarating performance and style, e-tron’s can conquer any terrain all while leaving minimal footprint. 

quattro and e-tron are combined into a powerful combination of high performance and notable economy. Audi is the first manufacturer to enable highly variable torque distribution in the e-tron S due to the drive topology featuring one motor at the front axle and two electric motors installed in a housing on the rear axle. This results in improved functionaslity such as electric torque vectoring on the rear axle, wheel-selective torque control due to a braking intervention with the mechanical differential, and high recuperation performance in an electric powertrain.  

Additionally, drivers can adjust the high variability of the system to their personal preferences by individual program selections. Via two controllers, the Audi drive select system offers seven profiles: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, individual, allroad and off-road and a further four ESC programmes. Thus, among other things, the electric all-wheel drive as well as the suspension and other systems can be adapted to the road conditions and personal preferences.  

The electric all-wheel drive is active in situations of degrading grip on road surfaces with low coefficients of friction, in particularly dynamic driving conditions, when the driver demands high traction power, or when maximum recuperation is desired – in other words, the recovery of energy during braking and deceleration. If the driver decelerates the car to a level of 0.3 g, the electric motors act as generators, using the car’s kinetic energy and converting it into electrical energy which, in turn, charges the battery. This applies to more than 90 percent of all braking manoeuvres in everyday driving situations.  

Only when stronger pedal pressure is applied, the system additionally and seamlessly activates the hydraulic wheel brakes. For instance, in a braking event at 100 km/h, the e-tron S can recover kinetic energy with output of up to 270 kW, compared to 250 kW in the Formula E electric racing series. If the driver demands full power while accelerating, the e-tron S models provide a total boost of 370 kW and torque of 973 Nm. Whether in drive or recuperation mode: interconnected control models always select the best torque distribution. 

What opportunities does electric quattro open up compared to conventional all-wheel drive? In the Audi e-tron models, one electric motor drives the front and rear axle. By contrast, the e-tron S versions use one motor on the front axle and two on the rear axle. With electric torque vectoring. In other words, specific torque development left and right, the e-tron S provides quattro drive on the rear axle with even greater agility. The key advantage: Without a mechanical connection between the two electric motors on the rear axle, the functions of a controlled transverse differential lock and thus the functions of a sport differential have been achieved within a single system purely by means of software-based activation. Consequently, thanks to intelligent drive control, Audi has implemented active and fully variable torque distribution in transverse direction on the rear axle. 

This degree of capability, technology and adaptability is well suited to Kiwi drivers and is perfect for our roads and lifestyle. 71% of the Audi range currently on the market in New Zealand today has quattro technology and that will continue to grow with the e-tron range expanding.

Audi New Zealand General Manager, Dean Sheed said “Electric vehicles are part of an ever-evolving category and it’s pleasing to see that all Audi e-tron models have quattro technology enhancing the driving performance and safety.

— Dean Sheed, General Manager, Audi New Zealand