Winning six of the eight races on the 2013 schedule for the FIA World Endurance Championship, it would be easy to assume the Audi R18 e-tron quattro fielded by Audi Sport Team Joest was a dominant car in the LMP1 category. What does the LMP1 manufacturers’ championship winning mean to Audi? It is time for the German car brand to completely reengineer their race car. With the Toyota TS030 Hybrid proving to be a strong competitor and Porsche’s entrance to the LMP1 category on-course for next year, Audi simply cannot rest on their laurels. Keeping the Audi R18 e-tron quattro name for 2014, the race car appearing on the race track will be a drastically different car from the one that last raced at the Bahrain International Circuit last month.
Conforming to 2014 rule changes made to the World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 category, the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro is safer and more energy efficient than the newly-retired vehicle. The body of the 2014 race car will be 10 centimeters slimmer but will also be 20 millimeters higher than the 2013 R18 e-tron quattro. The increased vehicle height is created for improved cockpit room and contributes with other design changes that improve visibility. A greater level of protection greets the pilot of the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro with a stronger-than-ever carbon fiber reinforced polymer cockpit structure. A narrower underfloor is lined with additional layers of fiber and the prototype sports car’s monocoque is built to handle more severe loads. Crash energy-absorbing zone is built into the R18 e-tron quattro prototype’s rear in order to greater reduce the impact to the driver.
One notable difference for sports car fans observing the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in 2014 is the presence of a front wing. New regulations permit the features as a cost-cutting solution to front diffusers. While gaining in one area, the 2014 LMP1 race car loses an aerodynamic aid at another area. The 2014 rule changes for LMP1 ban the process of using engine exhaust to flow over the rear diffuser. A practice that generated greater downforce, such use of exhaust gas had already been prohibited in Formula 1.
The powerplant of the 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototype sports car receives some of the most extraordinary improvements. Under the new World Endurance Championship LMP1 class rules, the powerplants of 2014 sports cars will be regulated based on energy consumption. The V-6 TDi engine returns with an electric turbocharger feeding the combustion chambers by converting thermal energy. This concept of electric forced-air induction is exceptionally new and has been up until now largely experimental. The electric turbocharger is aligned with the flywheel energy storage system so it is possible to feed electrical drive system when the TDi’s maximum boost pressure is met. The new Audi R18 e-tron quattro’s hybrid drive system works similar to the original vehicle that ran the past two sports car seasons. Electric drive is focused at the front while direct TDi engine performance is delivered through the rear wheels. Regenerative braking will continue to play a big part in recharging the electric drive storage system of the R18 e-tron quattro in 2014 trim.
Overall, the new Audi R18 e-tron quattro has been lightened by 45 kilograms. Weighing 870 kilograms (1,918 pounds) in total, Audi’s has succeeded applying in their lightweight production car philosophy to their new prototype. Other improvements made to the 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro include wheel tethers. Wheel tethers work to reduce the chances of a wheel/tire combination flying away violently from the vehicle in case of a crash. With each tether capable of withstanding a weight force of nine metric tons, two are installed on each wheel to set places on the 2014 race car.
Entering an all-new technological realm with electric turbocharging and other safety refinements, what can race fans expect from the Audi R18 e-tron quattro for 2014? Please keep in mind, Milestones already reached by Audi since 2000 includes the first 24 Hours of Le Mans overall-winning vehicle to be equipped with gasoline direct injection, turbo diesel power as well as a diesel/electric hybrid powertrain.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
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.
Once a chore for well-established automakers to incorporate electrified powerplants in a realistic production vehicle, the task has become much easier in recent model years as high volume and even premium car builders have embraced the technology. In reality, optimizing electric vehicle technology is likely to be the only method for some automakers to meet fleet fuel economy regulations without drastically removing our favourite high fuel-consuming cars. Under the pressure of higher fuel prices than on North American roads, European auto companies have long been providing customers with smaller gasoline engines and longer-range diesel powerplants. However, the push for all-electric as well as electric-assist automobiles is receiving the same enthusiasm for promoting more fuel savings.
Since 2009, Audi has delighted the taste buds of green-conscious auto show goers with the promise of their e-tron technology to premium vehicle customers. Putting electric-sourced movement at the forefront of a future involving luxury-branded motoring, the latest Audi e-tron Spyder introduced at the 2010 Paris Motor Show is the best of everything a fan of the four-ring division would want.
Started as an all-electric showcase, Audi’s e-tron has begun to embrace the plug-in hybrid propulsion model. Chiefly moved by two electric motors mounted to the front axle through urban travel, 88 total horsepower drives the e-tron Spyder as far as 50 kilometers or 31 miles on a single charge. Under more performance-based driving experiences, the German auto company adds a twin-turbocharged, 3-liter TDI engine to back up the electric power. Setting the Audi concept vehicle in motion through 300 horsepower, this is the same TDI engine revealed on the European Audi A8 with a 50 horsepower boost. The Audi e-tron Spyder also providing “boosting“ under acceleration as the two electric motors shoots the car movement in concert with the turbocharged diesel engine. Combining 388 horsepower and a collective 739 pounds-feet of torque, the experimental sports car proposed by e-tron is estimated to send performance-seeking riders from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds. Using a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Audi e-tron Spyder maximizes performance and vehicle efficiency.
An urban-centric sport convertible, this latest Audi e-tron Spyder shows off a striking performance ambition. Within 13.32 foot in length by 5.94 feet in width, the Audi e-tron Spyder accomplishes a race car appearance inspired by the R8 LMS vehicle. Looking over the road with LED headlamps, the highly-aluminum Audi Space Frame is based around a mid-engined design configuration. Carbon fiber touches such as a spoiler and rear diffuser creates a sporty accent to the Audi e-tron Spyder’s outer surface. Hind side area engine cover allows the upper stack of the Audi TDI powerplant to poke through the Audi e-tron Spyder. Completing the theme of a thrilling street rod or race car, 20-inch aluminum wheels formulates into a turbine blade design. With the notable exception to the chopped windscreen, the Audi e-tron Spyder displays a consider production car grace.
Including the full-array of exterior lighting and wearing side view mirrors, the interior of the Audi e-tron Spyder is clean but practical. Given a light and breezy appearance with a gentle degree of curves, Audi’s sports car concept features two racing-inspired bucket seats. For a high-tech interior touch, the Audi MMI system is behind the comfort as well as entertainment in the snug spyder. Instead of the center-mounted control display, the Audi e-tron Spyder instrument panel embeds the MMI setup between gauges. The Audi MMI can be controlled either through the traditional center-mounted unit or via a touch-sensitive steering wheel panel.
Buying time before the first e-tron powered Audi joins cars for sale in the 2014 model year, Audi has begun selling the Audi A6 Hybrid sedan. Once released, the Audi e-tron sports car will not be alone in exploring the world of plug-in hybrid premium personal vehicles. A Chevrolet Volt-based Cadillac ELR and a BMW i8 are set for arrival in showrooms over the next several years.
Information and photo source: Audi AG