Advance Look at the Series: The Audi Q4 e-tron concept

Pho­to by Audi Media Cen­ter
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 meters whose relation to the Audi e-tron is apparent at first glance.

Two elec­tric motors mobi­lize 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 100 km/h in just 6.3 sec­onds. It reach­es its max­i­mum speed at an elec­tron­i­cal­ly lim­it­ed 180 km/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 kilo­me­ters – in line with the WLTP stan­dard – sets the bench­mark in its class. The tech­nol­o­gy of the Q4 e-tron con­cept con­trols the mod­u­lar elec­tri­fi­ca­tion plat­form (MEB) that will be inte­grat­ed in numer­ous elec­tric vehi­cles pro­duced by the Volk­swa­gen Group in the future, from the com­pact class to the supe­ri­or medi­um-size 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 coupé 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: dimen­sions and inte­ri­or
4.59 meters long, 1.90 meters wide, 1.61 meters tall: With its dimen­sions, 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 meters 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.

The sense of spa­cious­ness is under­lined by the col­or scheme. While light, warm col­ors dom­i­nate the upper sec­tion of the cab­in, the dark car­pet in the floor sec­tion pro­vides a con­trast. The head­lin­ing, the win­dow pil­lars and the upper sec­tion of the door rail and dash pan­el are fit­ted with white and beige microfiber tex­tiles. In the Audi e-tron con­cept, sus­tain­abil­i­ty is the top pri­or­i­ty not only in terms of the elec­tric dri­ve: The floor cov­er­ing is made of recy­cled mate­ri­als. Instead of chrome-plat­ed met­al decor frames, the sur­faces are cov­ered with a high-qual­i­ty mul­ti-lay­er paint fin­ish. The paint­ed frost­ed Plex­i­glas on the appli­ca­tions cre­ates an inten­sive depth effect. Four seats with inte­grat­ed head restraints are uphol­stered with com­fort­able Alcan­tara mate­r­i­al man­u­fac­tured with exquis­ite work­man­ship. Dou­ble seams stitched with thick yarn adorn the uphol­stery.

The dis­play of the vir­tu­al cock­pit with the most impor­tant dis­play ele­ments for speed, charge lev­el and nav­i­ga­tion is locat­ed behind the steer­ing wheel. The large-for­mat head-up dis­play with an aug­ment­ed real­i­ty func­tion is a new fea­ture. It can dis­play impor­tant graph­i­cal infor­ma­tion, such as direc­tion­al arrows for turn­ing, direct­ly on the course of the road.

Con­trol pan­els designed as touch ele­ments on the steer­ing wheel spokes can be used to select fre­quent­ly used func­tions. In the mid­dle above the cen­ter con­sole, there is a 12.3 inch touch­screen via which the info­tain­ment and vehi­cle func­tions are dis­played and oper­at­ed.
It is tilt­ed toward the dri­ver for greater ease of oper­a­tion. A strip of but­tons for con­trol­ling the air con­di­tion­ing is locat­ed below it. As the cen­ter con­sole does not need to hold func­tion­al ele­ments such as a gear lever or hand brake actu­a­tion ele­ments, it is designed as a spa­cious stowage com­part­ment that includes a cell phone charg­ing cra­dle. There is a hor­i­zon­tal area in high-qual­i­ty design into which the selec­tor but­ton for the trans­mis­sion mode is inte­grat­ed and that also serves as a cov­er for the front sec­tion of the con­sole. In addi­tion to the con­ven­tion­al low­er stor­age com­part­ment, the doors now pro­vide the pos­si­bil­i­ty to store bot­tles in the spe­cial­ly mold­ed upper sec­tion, where they are easy to reach.

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.

The promi­nent­ly mod­elled fend­ers of all four wheels are a fur­ther clas­sic Audi design fea­ture that dis­tin­guish­es the brand. The widened fea­tures of the Q4 e-tron con­cept are designed to be high­ly organ­ic and flow­ing, and they add a char­ac­ter­is­tic touch to the side view. The accen­tu­a­tion of the rock­er pan­el area between the axles, where the bat­tery and thus the pow­er­house of this SUV is locat­ed, is a typ­i­cal fea­ture of the e-tron. Large 22 inch wheels leave no doubt about the poten­tial of the Audi e-tron con­cept. Its roof line slants down slight­ly toward the back, giv­ing the sil­hou­ette a par­tic­u­lar­ly dynam­ic look.

The strik­ing broad light band that con­nects the two lamp units on the rear end of the Audi Q4 e-tron con­cept was incor­po­rat­ed to reflect an ele­ment of the Audi e-tron. The rela­tion with­in the e-tron fam­i­ly becomes vis­i­ble even here. This also applies to the inside of the lights, where the sig­nif­i­cant sweep of the LED seg­ments is also rem­i­nis­cent of an ele­ment of the old­er broth­er.

Final­ly, the body paint in “Solar Sky,” a shade of blue that changes depend­ing on the angle of the light, is a sus­tain­able inno­va­tion in two sens­es: The paint, which was devel­oped specif­i­cal­ly for the Audi Q4 e-tron con­cept and pro­duced under envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly con­di­tions, effec­tive­ly reflects a short-wave frac­tion of sun­light, near the infrared spec­trum. This reduces the build-up of heat on the sur­face of the body and the inte­ri­or sig­nif­i­cant­ly. This ben­e­fits the sub­jec­tive well-being of the occu­pants while at the same time reduc­ing the ener­gy input required for the air con­di­tion­ing, which is then not need­ed as much to cool the vehi­cle inte­ri­or on warm days. This, in turn, improves the range and the glob­al car­bon foot­print of the Q4 e-tron con­cept.

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.

In most cas­es, the Audi Q4 e-tron con­cept main­ly uses its rear elec­tric motor, a per­ma­nent­ly excit­ed syn­chro­nous motor, in order to achieve the high­est effi­cien­cy. For rea­sons of effi­cien­cy, the dri­ve torque is gen­er­al­ly dis­trib­uted with a rear-axle bias. If the dri­ver demands more pow­er than the rear elec­tric motor can sup­ply, the elec­tric all-wheel dri­ve uses the front asyn­chro­nous motor to redis­trib­ute the torque as required to the front axle. This also hap­pens pre­dic­tive­ly even before slip occurs in icy con­di­tions or when cor­ner­ing fast, or if the car under­steers or over­steers.

The elec­tric motor in the rear end has an out­put of 150 kW and mobi­lizes a torque of 310 new­ton meters; the front engine sup­plies the front wheels with up to 75 kW and 150 new­ton meters. The sys­tem pow­er is 225 kW. The bat­tery in the vehi­cle floor stores 82 kilo­watt hours, which allows for a range of more than 450 kilo­me­ters accord­ing to the WLTP stan­dard. The bat­tery is charged with a max­i­mum of 125 kilo­watts. As a result, it takes hard­ly more than 30 min­utes to return to 80 per­cent of the total capac­i­ty.

How­ev­er, the recipe for this excel­lent range involves far more than just a bat­tery with a large capac­i­ty. Like the first mem­ber of the fam­i­ly, the Audi e-tron, the Audi Q4 e-tron con­cept is also a ver­sa­tile artist when it comes to effi­cien­cy. From the low aero­dy­nam­ic drag of the body, whose Cd val­ue is 0.28, to the sophis­ti­cat­ed recu­per­a­tion strat­e­gy, the com­pact SUV uses every oppor­tu­ni­ty to opti­mize its range. The com­plex ther­mal man­age­ment of the dri­ve and bat­tery, which involves a CO2 heat pump, also con­tributes to this.

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 kilo­grams. The cen­ter of grav­i­ty of the Audi Q4 e-tron con­cept is there­fore 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. Axles, dri­ves, wheel­bas­es and the inter­ac­tion between all com­po­nents are select­ed and adapt­ed specif­i­cal­ly for e-mobil­i­ty. The place­ment of the large-vol­ume bat­tery units and their geom­e­try can be opti­mized with­out hav­ing to make con­ces­sions to oth­er dri­ve con­cepts that must always be tak­en into account in the MLB and MQB.

At the same time, huge syn­er­gy poten­tial can be opened up with the MEB. This plat­form serves as the basis pri­mar­i­ly for elec­tric cars in the high-vol­ume A seg­ment. It allows the best tech­nol­o­gy avail­able to be devel­oped joint­ly across brands and used in many dif­fer­ent elec­tric cars. In par­tic­u­lar, the MEB also helps elec­tric mobil­i­ty to break through even in the par­tic­u­lar­ly price-sen­si­tive com­pact seg­ment.

Elec­tric offen­sive: twelve all-elec­tric dri­ve mod­els by 2025
The brand with the four rings 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.

The Audi e-tron GT con­cept show car, a high­ly dynam­ic coupé with a low floor, made its debut at the Los Ange­les Auto Show 2018. The tech­nol­o­gy in this auto­mo­bile was devel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Porsche; the design and char­ac­ter of the e-tron GT con­cept are packed full of unmis­tak­able Audi DNA. The project will be devel­oped into vol­ume-pro­duc­tion mod­els by the end of 2020.

The Pre­mi­um Plat­form Elec­tric (PPE) is a spe­cial joint project of the devel­op­ment depart­ments at Audi and Porsche. It will be the foun­da­tion for mul­ti­ple Audi mod­el fam­i­lies with all-elec­tric dri­ve cov­er­ing the high-vol­ume B through D seg­ments.

Fuel con­sump­tion of the mod­els named above
(Fuel con­sump­tion and CO2 emis­sion fig­ures giv­en in ranges depend on the equip­ment select­ed)
Audi e-tron:
Com­bined elec­tri­cal con­sump­tion in kWh/100 km: 26.2–22.6 (WLTP); 24.6–23.7 (NEDC
Com­bined CO2 emis­sions in g/km: 0

Pho­to by Audi Media Cen­ter
Pho­to by Audi Media Cen­ter

Joao Lamares

Editor in Chief at JLpress News
Fotógrafo profissional desde 1999, colaborou com diversas empresas, agencias de publicidade e gabinetes de imprensa.
Colaborou com o Blog Fashion Heroines como fashion phortographer.
É o fotógrafo oficial da Colorida Art Gallery.
Fundou a JLpress Sport News and Photo em abril de 2016 onde acumula os cargos de Diretor de conteúdos e fotógrafo.
Joao Lamares