Audi A1 e-Tron At Geneva 2010 – The Little e-Tron
Until now, the Audi cars made famous logos such as “TDI” or “Quattro”. For now, with the little Audi A1 concept e-tron, the Ingolstadt brand will bring in landscape a new term, the “e-tron”, which will designate the Audi cars with hybrid power train.
The concept with plug-in hybrid power, proposed train by the Germans on the little Audi A1 e-tron, comes with a novelty: an internal combustion engine that is not a TSI, nor a TDI, but a Wankel one, the engine that only Mazda RX-8 proposed in the modern age – however, NSU, the company from which Audi derived, has used a Wankel engine since 1964, so we are also talking about an historical link too.
Besides the advantage that is very compact, occupying less space in the back of the car, the Wankel engine is used strictly as a generator for the lithium-ion batteries, and have no role in delivering power to the wheels. The batteries provide power to an electric motor, which is capable of developing 102 HP and a good torque of 177 lb-ft, transmitted to the front wheels.
The weight distribution for the small A1 e-throne is good, the batteries are placed in a T-shaped mode, under the floor of the car, before the rear suspension, and the electric motor together with the other accessories can be found under the front hood. The Audi logo hides the plug for the battery recharge.
The battery charge cycle allows a maximum authonomy of about 30 miles using only electric power, then the Wankel engine starts doing its job and the little A1 e-tron will be able to run for another 125 miles. So the total autonomy of the machine reaches a maximum of around 150 miles, with a mileage of 124 mpg. Another advantage of the car is the weight of 5,794 pounds, quite small for a car equipped with batteries.
For the performance, the Audi A1 e-tron brags with a good start, of 10.2 seconds for 0-60 mph, and the top speed is limited to only 81 mph, to avoid the overloading the electrical system, thus extending battery life. A special thermal management system, helps keeping the batteries, the electric motor and the accessories are kept at an optimal temperature.
It is said that the production Audi A1 e-tron will hit the showrooms after 2012, being preceded by a supercar based on the Audi R8 e-throne, a concept unveiled in 2009 at Frankfurt Auto Show.