IT HAS been roughly a year since the first series production Audi with electric drive made its debut at the same location: The Audi e-tron was still covered in camouflage wrapping foil at that point. The brand with the four rings is now giving an advance look at a further automobile with an all-electric drive at the Geneva Motor Show: The Audi Q4 e-tron concept is a compact four-door SUV with an exterior length of 4.59 metres whose relation to the Audi e-tron is apparent at first glance.
Two electric motors mobilise 225 kW of system power in the Q4 e-tron concept. As is typical for Audi, the driving power of the concept vehicle is brought to the road with quattro all-wheel drive. Thanks to excellent traction, it accelerates from zero to 100km/h in just 6.3 seconds. It reaches its maximum speed at an electronically limited 180km/h. A large battery with a capacity of 82 kilowatt hours takes up almost the entire space in the underbody area between the axles. The range of over 450 kilometres – in line with the WLTP standard – sets the benchmark in its class.
The Audi Q4 e-tron concept gives an advance look at what will already be the fifth series production electric vehicle that the manufacturer will introduce by the end of 2020. Sales of the Audi e-tron have already started, and the first vehicles will be delivered to the customers before the end of March 2019.
Later this year, the Audi e-tron Sportback will be presented, and the Audi Q2L e-tron, which was designed specifically for the Chinese market, will roll off the assembly line. The presentation of the production version of the four-door high-performance cou-pe Audi e-tron GT, which is being developed at Audi Sport GmbH, is planned for the second half of 2020. The compact Audi Q4 e-tron is to make its production debut at the same time. With this offer, Audi now covers all important market segments with all-electric drive vehicles, from the A segment to the full-size class, just under two years after the launch of the first electric car.
Compact on the outside, spacious on the inside
With its dimensions – 4.59 metres long, 1.90 metres wide, 1.61 metres tall – the Audi Q4 e-tron concept takes its position in the upper third of the compact class. Its road space requirements thus qualify the electric SUV as an agile all-rounder that is suitable for city driving as well. In terms of the interior, by contrast, its wheelbase of 2.77 metres puts it at least one class higher. As there is no transmission tunnel restricting the space, the Q4 e-tron concept offers unsuspected spaciousness and comfort, especially in terms of legroom both at the front and in the rear.
Visibly Audi, visibly e-tron: The exterior
The Q4 e-tron concept is identifiable as an Audi at first glance by the Singleframe with the brand logo, the four rings. And it will take no more than two glances to see that this is an electric Audi e-tron: Like the first production Audi with electric drive, the new concept vehicle also features a structured closed surface within a broad, almost upright octagonal frame in place of a traditional radiator grille. Air is supplied via large inlets that extend from below the two matrix LED headlights all the way down to the front apron.
Efficient performer: Drive system and suspension
The modular electrification platform (MEB) offers a broad range of drive variants and power levels. The performance version of the electric drive is installed in the Audi Q4 e-tron concept. The front and rear axles are each powered by an electric motor – the Q4 is a quattro. There is no mechanical connection between the axles. Instead, an electronic control ensures that the torque distribution is coordinated optimally, and it does so in fractions of a second. That enables the electric SUV to achieve optimum traction in all weather conditions and on any type of surface.
Sporty, precise handling
A key factor for the sporty character and outstanding transverse dynamics is the low and central position at which the drive components are installed. The high-voltage battery system is optimally matched to the dimensions of the Audi Q4 e-tron and is located between the axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. The battery system weighs 510 kilogrammes.
The centre of gravity of the Audi Q4 e-tron concept is there-fore at a similar level to that of a sedan with a conventional drive system. Axle load distribution is perfectly balanced at almost 50:50. The front wheels of the Q4 e-tron concept are guided on a MacPherson axle with adaptive dampers. In the rear, there is a multi-link axle with separate springs and adaptive dampers.
The modular electrification platform MEB: The base
MLB, MQB – modular longitudinal platform and modular lateral platform: These component systems for vehicle development represent a great success story in all segments of Audi and the Volkswagen Group. Previous platforms were designed primarily for the use of combustion engines. What is new and different about the modular electrification platform: It was designed specifically and exclusively for automobiles with electric drive systems.
Electric offensive: 12 all-electric drive models by 2025
Audi launched its electric offensive with the world premiere of the all-electric SUV Audi e-tron in September 2018. By 2025, Audi will offer twelve automobiles with all-electric drive in the most important markets worldwide and achieve roughly one-third of its sales with electrified models. The SUVs within this portfolio include the e-tron and the e-tron Sportback due to make its debut in 2019. In addition, there will be a range of models with classic body layout such as Avant and Sportback. The range will cover every relevant market segment from the compact class to the luxury class.