Because sedans are becoming increasingly irrelevant these days, electrifying them is a clever way to get the public’s attention. Just look at the Tesla Model S, the Porsche Taycan and the Mercedes-Benz EQS. After the sleek e-Tron GT comes another battery-powered Audi that will likely rejuvenate demand for saloon cars. It’s called the A6 e-Tron Concept, which debuted at the Shanghai Auto Show.
If the Q4 e-Tron is anything to go by, expect the A6 e-Tron’s stylish, sleek and equally futuristic “sportback” profile to remain (mostly) unchanged in the production vehicle. This new design language is also a preview of the automaker’s future, so expect most of the elements to trickle down into upcoming production vehicles.
There’s a huge emphasis placed on the car’s lighting technology. The small, slit-like headlights are bright and sharp enough to project an image on the wall. The designers even designed a video game that’s meant to be beamed from the headlights. It can be played with a smartphone—ideal for killing time while waiting for the car to be fully charged. The rear lightbar gets a lot smarter with digital OLED elements lining the entire strip. This acts like a display that shows off a rather entertaining set of animations.
There is also a network of high-resolution LED projectors dotted across the body. The corner-mounted ones beam turn signals onto the ground, which is supposed to be a clearer way of indicating. Six more projectors (three on each side) display different welcome messages or warnings (like when a door is about to open).
Various design elements help increase the effective range. The A6 e-Tron Concept’s fancy “Heliosilver” paint job does more than just show off the shape and the character lines of the car. It’s also designed to reflect most of the thermal radiation from the sunlight. This means that the car’s cabin stays cooler, and the air-conditioning system doesn’t need to work very hard. The drag coefficient is an impressive 0.22, allowing the car to go more than 700km on a full charge.
It’s also fast. Fitted with twin-motor power unit, the A6 e-Tron Concept puts out 469hp and 800Nm. Audi claims that the most powerful trim level is capable of sprinting to 100km/h in less than four seconds.
The 100kWh battery packs quite a punch in terms of charging speed. Compatible fast chargers can add an additional 300km of range in just 10 minutes. The battery can be topped up to 80% capacity in as fast as 25 minutes. This charging rate is said to be a lot quicker than most modern smartphones.
All of this is possible thanks to an entirely new EV platform called PPE (no, not that kind of PPE), or the Premium Platform Electric. Just like the Volkswagen Group’s MEB, PPE is a modular base from which a variety of vehicles can be made. The first of Audi’s production EVs to use PPE is expected to be unveiled in the second half of next year.