The Audi A6 e-tron electric car concept was presented at the trade fair in Shanghai. The Audi A6 already has a history of electrified powertrains, starting with a hybrid version back in 2011. The current Audi A6 TFSIe was launched in 2019 with a plug-in hybrid driveline now has an electric range of up to 68 kilometres (WLTP).
The Audi A6 e-tron concept is a 100% electric car and is based on the future PPE platform developed by Audi. The 4.96 meters long, 1.96 meters wide and 1.44-meter high concept car is designed as a Sportback, and its lines reflect the development of Audi's current design language. The Audi A6 e-tron concept presented in Shanghai is far more than just a simple design exercise - its exterior design is a foretaste of Audi's future series-production models. It provides clear indications of how dynamic and elegant the electrically powered luxury class will look from the brand.
The PPE technology will guarantee that what the electric car's lines suggest is translated into dynamic driving characteristics and suitability for everyday use. Concretely, this means that depending on the driveline and model version, an Audi A6 e-tron electric car is expected to reach a range of more than 700 kilometres (WLTP), and the fastest members of the new family will go from 0 to 100 km/h in less than four seconds.
Aerodynamics has always played a central role in Audi's long success story in the luxury class. For example, the CW value of the Audi 100 is still legendary, and at that time, in 1982, the Audi 100 was the world champion in aerodynamics across all classes with its CW value of 0.30.
The Audi A6 e-tron electric concept is recording a new chapter in this success story, which shows that Audi always combines form and function in an optimal symbiosis. A CW value of only 0.22 means that the car produces minimal wind resistance - which translates into lower energy consumption and, therefore more extended range. At the same time, the fine-tuning of the wind tunnel has again resulted in an organic design with elegance and harmony down to the smallest detail.
The upward slope of the rear side windows is a typical feature of the Audi Sportback design, just as robust wheel arches are also a distinctive Audi design feature. The A6 e-tron concept has sleek, camera-based virtual side mirrors specific characteristics of the Audi e-tron models.
On the front, it is clear that the Audi A6 e-tron concept is an electric car. A distinctive feature is the large closed Singleframe grille, encircled at the bottom by air intakes to cool the driveline, battery and brakes. In addition, the flat headlights extend far into the sides of the front end and emphasize the horizontally focused architecture that gives the car additional width.
The energy of the wind tunnel on the design of the rear end is unmistakable. The upper part is shaped to create an aerodynamic functional edge, and in the lower part, the diffuser's large air outlet is integrated into the spoiler area, which reduces turbulence in the air flowing under the car - a perfect combination of reduced wind resistance and minimized buoyancy.
"Heliosilver" is the name of a special varnish that reduces energy consumption. This is because the paint can reflect a significant percentage of the thermal radiation from sunlight, which means that in many situations, you do not need to use the air conditioner to maintain a constant temperature in the cabin. The use of air conditioning is one of the most important factors influencing energy consumption beyond the driveline system. The paint helps with the car's range and CO2 footprint.
The sleek headlights and taillights align with the overall lines. Behind the lens, digital Matrix LED and digital OLED technology makes it achievable to obtain the best lighting and a full range of functions, even with a minimal surface area, while offering exciting light signatures that can be customized.
Three small high-resolution LED projectors are built into each side and transform the ground under the doors into a stage when the doors are open, where small extended dynamic light effects greet the passengers with messages in their own language. The blend of safety features and beautiful design has always been of particular importance to Audi, and therefore the small projectors also show warning symbols on the ground to inform bicyclists that the car door is about to open.
Another four high-resolution LED projectors, discreetly integrated into the corners of the car, generate pivot signal projections.
The digital Matrix LED headlights can do more than illuminate the road to near daylight. For example, if the Audi A6 e-tron concept car is parked in front of a white wall to recharge the battery, the driver and passengers can pass the time playing a video game projected on that wall. Players control the game via their smartphones and can stand next to or directly in front of the electric car for a magnificent view of the game, which is several meters wide. The game itself is conceived and developed by Audi designers specifically for the Audi A6 e-tron concept.
At the rear, the concept car has a new generation of digital OLED elements that act as a screen as a continuous light strip. The OLED can be used to create almost unlimited variations of digital light signatures and dynamic light screens that can be customized to the customer's wishes. A new feature in the taillights is the three-dimensional architecture of the digital OLED elements, making it likely to feel the dynamic light show in two dimensions as before but with a 3D effect.
Both headlights and taillights naturally meet Audi's stringent requirements for the traditional functions of lights for cars, namely to see and be seen. In front, a clear lit road is created with headlights that intelligently adapt to the traffic situation, the weather and the surroundings and communicate with other road users. At the rear, homogeneous and contrast-rich digital OLED taillights can significantly improve the level of safety on the roads.
In addition, the projections around the car make it possible for the first time to expand the communication area beyond the car. Using intelligent connectivity options in the car, the A6 e-tron provides concept information to other road users with visual cues.
The PPE platform is designed exclusively for battery-electric powertrains and therefore takes full advantage of this technology. The cutting edge element of the future PPE fleet is a battery module between the axles with a capacity of around 100 kWh of energy in the A6 e-tron concept. Furthermore, the use of the entire base of the car makes it possible to achieve a relatively flat design for the battery. It means that for the first time, it will be possible to use this one platform for both cars with high ground clearance and cars with a dynamic, flat architecture - like the Audi A6 e-tron concept - without changes to the basic architecture.
The battery size and wheelbase of PPE models are scalable, making them suitable for use in different market segments, but all models will have the relationship between a relatively long wheelbase and very short overhangs in common. The passengers in the future PPE models will especially profit from the long wheelbase, which transmutes into a more extended interior and more legroom in both rows of seats - an essential advantage across all segments. In addition, electric cars are generally also more spacious thanks to the absence of a transmission tunnel, which is simply unnecessary due to the technology.
At the heart of the Audi A6 e-tron concept's driveline technology - and in all future PPE models - is 800-volt charging technology. Just like in the Audi e-tron GT, this ensures that the battery can be charged very fast with up to 270 kW at lightning charging stations. This technology enables charging times that come close to a stop to refuel a car with a conventional internal combustion engine. Only 10 minutes is sufficient to recharge the battery for another 300 km, and in under 25 minutes, anyone can charge the Audi A6 e-tron's battery from 5 to 80 %. Concomitantly with a range of more than 700 kilometres, the Audi A6 e-tron concept car is highly suitable as a primary vehicle.
The Audi A6 e-tron concept has two electric motors that can deliver a total output of 350 kW and a torque of 800 Nm. Thanks to the high torque available right from the start, even electric cars produced for efficiency will accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in less than seven seconds. In high-performance models, this sprint can even be reduced to well under four seconds.
In 2018, Audi's first 100% electric car was launched: the Audi e-tron. Since then, the Audi brand has systematically and consistently introduced electric mobility across its product range. Following the Audi e-tron electric SUV and the Audi e-tron Sportback, in February 2021, Audi launched the highly dynamic e-tron GT based on a new technology platform developed together with Porsche AG. And two months later, the Audi Q4 e-tron electric compact SUV and Q4 Sportback e-tron had their world premiere - two unique SUVs in the A-segment based on the Volkswagen Group's MEB platform. Also, the Audi Q2 L e-tron has been available since 2019 only in the Chinese market.
The Audi A6 e-tron concept is now the first member of a model family - initially in the C-segment and later in the B- and D-segments - based on PPE (Premium Platform Electric). This innovative technology platform is being developed under Audi's management with Porsche AG. The first Audi series production models built on the PPE platform will be unveiled on an ongoing basis from the second half of 2022. With the PPE platform, electric cars will now also be attractive to customers who prefer car models other than SUVs.
In addition, the platform also benefits overall fleet consumption and CO2 emissions. In short, the PPE platform will ensure that Audi's rapid transformation towards electric mobility via volume and variation will be yet another Audi success story.