Regardless though, Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards and requirements in states like California have mandated some zero emissions vehicles. Also, Audi has a reputation for investments in technology. Thus, Audi instituted the e-tron program. Various concepts in this program have been introduced, such as the R8 e-Tron. Many industry insiders expected the program to be approved for a limited production, with an arrival date of early next year. Car and Driver now reports that Audi’s research and development boss Wolfgang Durheimer has put the program under a “review.” The VW Group is in a cash savings mode due to problems in the European market. That is causing non-essential programs (such as the Bentley EXP 9F and Lamborghini Urus SUVs) to be curtailed.
The R8 e-tron is one of them getting the axe. Durheimer’s concerns include a lack of batteries to power the car at a reasonable price, as well as a lack of sales. The R8 e-tron would be very expensive, and have a limited range to boot. Both factors limit sales significantly. Given this, Car & Driver expects the program to be cancelled for production. The mules we’ve seen so far ar for evaluation purposes as the company learns about electrics. This news comes as the R8 e-tron’s expected launch date is nearing. Audi’s move follows a similar reduction in scope of electric vehicle efforts at Toyota. The dreadful (in range anyway) Scion iQ has now been limited to 50 vehicles in the United States, all destined for car sharing services. Only Tesla, which has taken great pains to produce a truly top-notch pure electric vehicle, has experienced heavy demand. For those looking forward to an electric Audi though, the latest word on the street is that the A3 e-tron is headed for series production – for now anyway.
North America auto buyers would be amused at the potpourri that is the global Audi vehicle range. Through high-profile auto exhibitions, the version of the A1 subcompact and Q3 compact crossover are models unaccustomed to Audi owners (or potential Audi owners) in the United States. Making judgement calls for what mind of vehicles a certain market can sustain, we (as North American enthusiasts) are kept in the dark of Audi’s accomplishments in other parts of the world. Thankful to the theatrics of several major auto shows, car companies are finally encouraged to display their many faces to a global audience.
In China, Audi produces a wider wheelbase version of the A6 sedan in association with (FAW) First Automobile Works Group Corporation. A solid selling vehicle in China‘s premium car segment after a short time on the market, the Audi A6 L is 3.7 inches longer compared to the standard sedan in overall length. For the 2012 Auto China exhibit, Audi and FAW collective success of the A6 L is being highlighted to the world with e-tron treatment. The newest appearance of Audi’s electrified plug-in hybrid powertrain, A6 L e-tron Concept pushes the bounds of their gasoline-saving technology deeper.
The combination of a gasoline and electric power train on a large sedan (as shown on the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept) is nothing new for Audi. The A8 Hybrid sedan is slated for sale in Europe following the A6 Hybrid already found in showrooms east of the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, the main difference with the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept is the use of electrical power as primary motion. Using the same 211-horsepower, 2.0 TFSI engine used in the conventional A6 and A8 hybrid vehicles as a range extender, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept adaptation to a plug-in hybrid motoring caused a rethink of the electric-mode hardware. Instead of the 40-kilowatt electric motor found on the A8 hybrid, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept employs a more powerful 70-kilowatt electrical propulsion unit. A larger lithium-ion battery pack is also a property of driving plug-in hybrid vehicle such as the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept.
On pure electric power, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept can run up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) on a single change at a maintained speed of 37.3 miles per hour. The Audi A6 L’s lightweight aluminum construction and use of highly efficient LED lighting plays well to optimize the e-tron powertrain.
Still a very stylized premium sedan, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept wears its fins in a much tighter fashion than that found on the production car. As the ultra-modern Audi sedan receives propulsion from gasoline and electric power, the A6 L e-tron Concept coasts on 21-inch wheels featuring the same aggressive turbine blade design featured on the Audi e-tron Spyder.
Despite the intense focus on energy efficiency, the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept sedan continues to pamper the driver and passengers with modern comfort. Features such as ventilated seats, automatic climate control, Bose Surround Sound System and Audi MMI navigation plus are all found inside of the four-door luxury sedan. For the driver of the plug-in hybrid, the instrument panel features a subtle but important change. Replacing the tachometer, a powermeter is incorporated into the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept so drivers can actively monitor the lithium-ion battery along with other crucial gauges.
Thanks to show cars like the A6 L e-tron Concept, Audi has convinced observers of the German luxury car brand there are far-reaching merits to Audi’s e-tron technology. Combining the eco-friendly motoring both government agencies and motorists will require through the upcoming decades, we have seen e-tron bringing the same confidence as well as performance refinement expected from the upscale car badge. However, customers of Audi are still several years away from seeing e-tron for sale. The first planned e-tron production model is the Audi A3 e-tron set for 2014 release in Europe. The Audi A6 L e-tron Concept (a possible pipedream of a lower tailpipe emission future) seems likely to remain a showpiece for the immediate future.
Information and photo source: Audi AG