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Audi Heads to the Future with Electric Power

The carmaker is reshaping its future portfolio to include more EVs, both for consumers and motorsport competition.

Audi has a clear vision for the future. As early as 2025, one in three Audi cars delivered is planned to be an electric vehicle. Even before this date, the portfolio of the brand with the four rings will include more than 20 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles—spread across all segments and all models.

The first vehicle to be launched in 2018 will be the sporty Audi e-tron SUV, enabling a range of more than 500 kilometers. It will be followed in 2019 by a four-door grand tourer. In 2020, Audi will be extending its electric offering by a compact model. From 2021 on, all the core model ranges are planned to be electrified, including mild hybrid technology. Including the planned volume growth, a third of all Audi models will be electrified in 2025—either fully electric or with a plug-in hybrid.

A 3.0 TDI engine and an electric motor provides a combined output of 275 kW (373 hp) and torque of 700 Nm. TDI refers to a turbocharged direct injection engine featuring turbocharging and cylinder-direct fuel injection. In all-electric mode, it achieves a range of up to 56 kilometers, producing zero local emissions. It is the world’s first plug-in hybrid with a V6 diesel engine and quattro drive.  

The Audi e-tron FE04, ready to race.

The quattro name is used by Audi to describe a four-wheel-drive system, or any four-wheel-drive version. The Audi Quattro was the first rally car to take advantage of the then-recently changed rules that allowed the use of four-wheel drive in competition racing.

The four-door design vision Audi Aicon provides a glimpse of the decade after next. The company unveiled a fully automated Audi of the future at the 2017 IAA. In a visionary way, the technology showpiece combines innovations in the areas of the powertrain and chassis, digitalization, and sustainability. The Aicon is designed for all-electric operation and is supposed to be able to cover distances between 700 and 800 kilometers on a single battery charge.

Audi is now racing in Formula E, as well—the first German automobile manufacturer to do so—with the Audi e-tron FE04.

Together with official technology partner Schaeffler, Audi has developed a new powertrain that will be fielded in the Audi e-tron FE04 in the 2017/2018 season. The combination of the motor and transmission is the car’s centerpiece. The engineers primarily focused on designing the motor-generator unit (MGU) for even greater efficiency. As a result, acceleration out of corners in particular is enhanced. The maximum output of the motor in qualifying is limited to 200 kW (272 hp) and in the race to 180 kW (245 hp). Via the so-called “FanBoost,” power of up to 200 kW (272 hp) can be made available to the drivers for a short period of time.

Power to the Audi e-tron FE04 is supplied by a battery weighing 200 kilograms that Williams Advanced Engineering has developed, and that is identical for all cars. The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 34 kWh, of which 28 kWh may be used. It sits between the driver’s seat and the powertrain.

To transmit the power to the wheels, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler (appearing in the new season) is using a high-efficiency transmission with one instead of the previous three gears. A central display provides all the key information on the condition of the MGU, the system temperatures, which are particularly important with an electrically operated race car, and the current charge state of the battery.

Like in Formula 1, the driver sits in a carbon fiber monocoque complying with the latest FIA safety standards. Two roll bars and CFRP crash structures at the front, rear, and sides provide maximum safety. The minimum weight of a Formula E race car is 880 kilograms (including the driver). The electric race car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds . Top speed on the city street circuits is about 225 km/h.

The Audi e-tron FE04 is the final evolution of the first Formula E era. In the fifth season that will start in fall/winter of 2018, a completely new design of a specification chassis will be used that will radically differ from all single-seater cars known to date. The battery to be used then will have twice the capacity of the current one, so that the car change currently required will no longer be necessary and the drivers will contest the race in only one car.

Central elements such as the chassis, battery, tires, or brakes will remain specification parts for all teams and manufacturers in the next few years. Only the powertrain—consisting of the motor, transmission, parts of the suspension and the respective software—will continue to be open to proprietary developments. In addition, parameters such as the permitted power output in qualifying and the race or maximum permissible recuperation will successively increase.

The table below lists the characteristics of the Audi e-tron FE04 as of September 2017.


Vehicle type

Single seater (FIA Formula E)


Spec. spark chassis in composite fiber construction made of carbon fiber with aluminum honeycomb core, tested for strict FIA crash and safety standards; front, rear, and side crashers from CFRP; front and rear roll bars


Spec. spark carbon body; spec. front and rear wings


Motor Generator Unit (MGU)

Audi Schaeffler MGU02

Power output practice and qualifying

200 kW (272 hp)

Power output race

180 kW (245 hp) plus FanBoost


Additional (approx.) 100 kJ energy


Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) from Williams Advanced Engineering, maximum 200 kg; lithium-ion cells from Xalt; battery capacity 34 kWh, of which 28 kWh is usable; charging time approx. 45 minutes

Motor controller

Bosch ECU


Type of drive

Rear-wheel drive


High-efficiency 1-speed racing transmission

Drive shafts

Constant velocity joint shafts



Rack-and-pinion steering, removable steering wheel with quick release; display, shift; and rain paddles, plus FIA marshalling indicators


Front and rear independent suspension on lower and upper steel wishbones; pushrod system; front torsion bars; rear spring suspension; two shock absorbers ,front and rear; adjustable stabilizers; front and rear; adjustable ride height; toe and camber; two-wheel retention tethers per wheel


Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system; light metal calipers; front and rear carbon fiber brake discs; adjustable brake force distribution


Aluminum rims, front 9 × 18 in. and rear 11 × 18 in.;

minimum weight per wheel front 7 kg, rear 8 kg


Profiled road-like tires, specially developed for Formula E, Michelin

Pilot Sport EV, front 245/40 R18, rear 305/40 R18



5,000 mm


1,790 mm


1,070 mm


3,100 mm

Minimum weight

880 kg (incl. driver)


0–100 km/h

Approx. 3.5 seconds

Top speed

225 km/h

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