Audi AG, headquartered in Ingolstadt, Germany, and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, is resolutely pushing ahead with its “e-volution” towards electric mobility and will be unveiling the forerunner of an innovative family of fully electric, production cars – the four-door Audi A6 e-tron concept – at the Auto Shanghai 2021 show. A completely new technology architecture, the “Premium Platform Electric,” or PPE for short, will serve as the technology platform for these vehicles in the future. Beginning in late 2022, the first production cars in the C- and later also B-segment will be relaunched with PPE technology, including – a first in the market for electric vehicles – both SUVs with a high ground clearance and dynamically styled models with a lower ride height, such as the upcoming Audi A6 e-tron.
The PPE is designed exclusively for battery-electric drive systems and can therefore take full advantage of all the benefits of this technology. The key element of the future PPE fleet is a battery module between the axles that holds around 100 kWh of energy in the A6 e-tron concept. The use of the entire vehicle base makes it possible to achieve a relatively flat layout for the battery. This means that for the first time, it will be possible to use this single platform for both vehicles with a high ground clearance and vehicles with a decidedly dynamic, flat architecture – such as the Audi A6 e-tron concept – without any changes to the basic architecture.
The battery size and wheelbase of PPE vehicles are scalable, making them suitable for use in different market segments. The ratio of a fairly long wheelbase and very short overhangs is something they will all have in common, however, and this, together with the large wheels, results in basic proportions that are simply perfect – and not just in terms of design. This is because the occupants of the future PPE models will also benefit from the long wheelbase, which translates into a longer interior and more legroom in both rows of seats – a key benefit across all segments. In addition, electric vehicles are also generally more spacious thanks to the absence of a transmission tunnel, which is simply not needed due to the technology.
But even without the transmission tunnel, Audi customers will not have to pass up on the brand’s trademark quattro drive system. The future range of PPE models will include versions with one electric motor each mounted to the front and rear axles that use electronic coordination to deliver all-wheel drive on demand and achieve a perfect balance between driving dynamics and energy efficiency. In addition, the e-tron family will also include basic versions optimized for minimum consumption and maximum range – in this case, propulsion will come from a single electric motor mounted to the rear axle.
The Audi A6 e-tron concept’s two electric motors are capable of delivering a total output of 350 kW and a torque of 800 Newton meters.
The front wheels of the Audi A6 e-tron concept are connected via a five-link axle specially optimized for electric vehicles, with a multi-link axle in the rear. The concept car features Audi air suspension with adaptive dampers.
Fast charging, high range
The heart of the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s drive technology – and that of all future PPE models – is the 800-volt charging technology. Like the Audi e-tron GT before it, this ensures that the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s battery can be charged with up to 270 kW in a very short time at fast-charging stations. This revolutionary technology will enter the high-volume mid-range and luxury segments with the PPE for the very first time.
This technology makes charging times possible that come close to a stop to refuel a car powered by a conventional engine.Just 10 minutes are enough to charge the battery to a level sufficient to power the car more than 300 kilometers. And in less than 25 minutes, you can charge the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s 100 kWh battery from 5 to 80 percent.
Together with a range of more than 700 kilometers – depending on the selected drive system and power output – the Audi A6 e-tron concept is uncompromisingly suitable for use as a primary vehicle. Furthermore, its range and charging speed keep pace with those of combustion engines, making it the perfect universal car for everyday needs, from short trips to the store to longer road trips when going on vacation.
In terms of dynamic qualities, the Audi A6 e-tron concept – as is typical for an electric car – truly outshines its rivals with combustion engines. Thanks to its high torque available right from the first revolution, even entry-level models designed for efficiency will accelerate to 100 km/h in less than seven seconds. And in the top-of-the-line, high-performance models, this sprint can even be reduced to well under four seconds.
PPE – Versatile, variable, electric
2018 saw the debut of the Audi’s first fully electric production vehicle – the Audi e-tron. Since then, in less than three years, the brand has systematically and rapidly pushed ahead with the widespread introduction of electric mobility across its entire product range. Following the Audi e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback, the highly dynamic e-tron GT – based on a new technology platform developed jointly with Porsche AG – made its debut in February 2021.
And just two months later, the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron premiered – two extremely unique SUVs in the A-segment with a common technological platform, the Volkswagen Group’s MEB. The Audi Q2 L e-tron, which is also all-electric, has also been available exclusively in the Chinese market since 2019.
The Audi A6 e-tron concept is now the first member of a family of vehicles – initially in the C-segment and later also in the B- and D-segments – that is based on another innovative technology platform: the Premium Platform Electric, or PPE for short. This modular system is being developed under Audi’s leadership together with Porsche AG. The first Audi production vehicles built on the PPE platform will be successively unveiled starting in the second half of 2022.
PPE vehicles are specifically designed to be offered globally, and will be rolled out in all of the brand’s key markets. Audi plans to manufacture the vehicles both at its European sites and in China, the company’s largest single market. A new production facility is being built in Changchun specifically for this purpose, where Audi’s electric cars with PPE technology will start rolling off the line by the middle of the decade. The facility is operated jointly by Audi and its joint venture partner FAW.
PPE is the first platform designed to accommodate an unprecedented range of high-volume automobiles – including SUVs and CUVs with a high ground clearance as well as cars with a low ride height that are part of Audi’s core product range, such as the Audi A6 series. But there are also plans to expand the PPE range into the B-segment, which has been the highest-volume market segment for Audi for decades. And even when it comes to the top-of-the-line D-segment, the PPE is an excellent technological platform to build on.
With the PPE, electric vehicles will now also be attractive to customers who prefer automobile concepts beyond the SUV segment – like a Sportback, for example, which is characteristic of the brand and which the Audi A6 e-tron concept translates into a cutting-edge model.