• Apr 1st 2011 at 3:52PM
  • 9
Audi A5 e-tron prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery

is backing up its goal of dominating the premium electric vehicle segment by 2020 with a new e-tron prototype. This plug-in hybrid, based on the A5 Coupe, is packed with all the technological wizardry you would expect of a premium-segment prototype, and even has some features you might not expect, like the 'through-the-road' drivetrain setup that takes advantage of the large plug-in battery to power all four wheels.

At the front axle, the drivetrain has a conventional power-split hybrid setup, consisting of a compact 33 kilowatt (45 hp) electric motor and 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged gas engine. The engine alone packs 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Moving to the back of the car is where things get interesting. Ditching a conventionally heavy all-wheel-drive setup, the A5 e-tron's rear wheels are powered by a 60 kW (81 hp) electric motor, and there is nothing physically linking the front and rear axles.

As other companies, like Peugeot, know, a through-the-road setup helps to reduce weight, and with the generous use of carbon fiber and aluminum, the prototype tips the scales at no more than a production A5 Quattro that uses the same gas engine. With a 40-mile electric only range and the ability to cruise in EV mode at speeds up to 62 miles per hour, we think Audi may have a winner here. The company just needs to bring the car into production (before 2020, please).

[Source: Audi via Green Car Reports]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I reckon Audi will have their heart in this sort of configuration more than an EV, so this will come - and it will be awesome!
      • 4 Years Ago
      2.0L turbo ICE vs the 1.4L ecotech in the Volt. I'd prefer less ICE and more EV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't see why a smaller engine is inherently better. This is a 4WD vehicle, and might be towing or accelerating a big heavy car fast.
        You don't necessarily get better fuel economy from a smaller engine anyway, it has to be right-size for the job it has to do.
        The first versions of the much smaller Peugeot 3008 will have a 2 litre diesel, so the engine size is nothing out of the way.

        This car will be capable of some serious petrol savings, as around town it will be able to go miles on the battery alone.
        Savings follow a law of diminishing returns, so that you would have to make significant compromises in comfort, acceleration and performance for relatively modest gains.

        Sounds like a great set of engineering choices to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is still not the radical design that Audi had let us dream of, with its 1st eTron prototypes sometimes ago. Sorry but it won't be for me either.
      Want a Q5 or Q6 or Q4 (My next car will be nothing else than an SUV. Had enough berlines). Then need it with an "All Electric tracting base", with 2 electric engines (one per axis) or 4 (one per weel), delivering comparable >200hp as today real cars combined, with a 50KWH battery pack and a creative Power Generator used for "extended range" but not meant to tract the vehicle directly (Micro turbines, rotative engine, anything more efficient at constant speeds than traditional ICE engines optimized for tracting at various speeds). Easy. You made us dream of such things Audi now you must deliver and stop copying the not so good designs of your competitors (Peugeot here).
        • 4 Years Ago
        What a brilliant advertising slogan for Audi!
        'You made us dream!'
      • 4 Years Ago
      still way too conventional, all wrong.
      they still want to hold on to the stupid lump of ICE in a stupid heavy metal vehicle.
      only cars with electric drive as the primary need apply.

      besides it's a bit of a stretch to call this e-tron. unless in the french meaning.
        • 4 Years Ago
        because of the price that follows those choices..
      • 4 Years Ago
      How is a hybrid going to help Audi dominate the premium EV segment? It's a hybrid, it's not even in the segment.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is what, Audi's 3rd or 4th "e-tron" model? Add in VW's E-Up, Golf blue-e-motion, and Bulli, and the automaker has shown at least 6 different EV models in the past year while producing none.
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