Since 1980, Audi has been a pioneer when it comes to quattro technology. Today all the sportiest Audi models feature quattro as standard and it is core to the enjoyment of driving these cars. Now as Audi accelerates rapidly into an innovative all-electric future, the brand is actively building on the epic success of its mechanical all-wheel drive systems.
The e-tron, the first ever all-electric Audi SUV, shows how electric all-wheel drive provides for superlative traction and handling on any terrain and in any weather conditions. It achieves this by continuously regulating the ideal distribution of drive torques between two motors, one set on each axle.
The latest electric models with the four rings to be unveiled – the new Audi e-tron S and Audi e-tron S Sportback – are pushing the e-quattro to even greater heights of performance and efficiency. The new e-tron S versions have a brand new drive concept featuring not two but three electric motors, one set on the front axle and two on the rear axle. Audi is the first manufacturer in the premium segment to mass-produce the technology using three electric motors. The latest generation quattro system is accompanied by electric torque vectoring – which means specific torque distribution left and right – giving the e-tron S quattro drive on the rear axle with even greater agility.
In order to boost efficiency, only the rear electric motors are engaged as long as the Audi e-tron S and the e-tron S Sportback are operating in normal driving mode. The front electric motor immediately kicks in when the driver demands more output, or predictively before traction subsides, for example during fast cornering. The electric quattro is managed by sophisticated computer software capable of distributing power between the wheels in tiny fractions of a second. Thanks to intelligent drive control, the functions of a controlled transverse differential lock and a sport differential are therefore achieved without a mechanical connection between the two electric motors on the rear axle. The result is a fast-response drive system that reacts in around a quarter of the time it takes a mechanical system.
Another major benefit of this electric drive is that it provides extremely high levels of torque. Up to 220 Nm more torque can be allocated to the outside wheel for example, allowing the car to be driven rapidly into curves with all the agility and control of a sports car. The all-electric drift has arrived and it has never looked better.
Looking at these remarkable advances, it is clear that quattro remains right at the heart of Audi’s all-electric future.