Having spent a solid day behind the wheel of the 2021 Audi E-Tron, it's hard not to be impressed by some of the technical detail that underpins Audi's new electric SUV.
Like Tesla's over the air updates and clever app-based controllability, BMW's extensive use of recycled materials inside the i3, and the way Nissan is looking to repurpose old Leaf electric hatch batteries as fixed power solutions in another life, electric vehicles bring with them a different way of thinking.
Here then, are five interesting facts about the 2012 Audi E-Tron
The brakes are incredibly efficient at recuperating energy
When you lift off the accelerator, the electric motors – both of them – act as alternators and provide incredible resistance in order to harvest energy and send it back to the battery.
The Audi system can deliver up to 0.3g of braking power and, once you get used to it, you can effectively drive the E-Tron without ever needing to use the brakes. You can also select the level to which the recuperation performance works. It’s clever and efficient.
Charging is easier than ever
The simple provision of a charging inlet on each side of the E-Tron means it doesn’t matter how you park at home, or how you park at a public charger, it’s easy to plug in. While range is always discussed, charging time is another issue most potential buyers have with the current crop of electric cars.
Porsche provided the Taycan with the capability of taking in a high rate of charge, and now Audi has done the same. Set up the recommended 11kW charger at home, and you’ll be sorted in around eight hours. When you have access to a 150kW DC charging system, the E-Tron will boost to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
It’s one of the most aerodynamic vehicles of any kind
Electric or otherwise, the E-Tron is super slippery in the wind tunnel – which, in turn, means it is more efficient in the way it uses its available power.
Its drag coefficient of just 0.28Cd (with the external rear-view cameras) makes it one of the most aerodynamically efficient vehicles on the road. It’s not just about the shape either – the E-Tron has specially designed 19-inch wheels, an active shutter for the front vent inlets and other smaller measures to reduce drag as much as possible.
One electric motor works a little harder than the other
There are two motors under the E-Tron – one for each axle – and it allows Audi to use the legendary quattro moniker for the first time in an electric drivetrain for a production car.
Torque delivery can be varied across each motor to deliver traction at the front or the rear, but in most normal driving situations, the E-Tron is RWD.
The battery pack in the 55 model is a big one
Only Tesla’s P100D battery pack is currently larger. Audi has also set the pack up in such a way that it delivers the coveted 50:50 weight distribution front to rear and with the weight sitting so low in the chassis, it has an even lower centre of gravity than most other regular SUVs.
For more on the Audi E-Tron, including our first Australian drive, catch our links below.