Capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost to heat and using it to recharge a battery isn’t a new concept, but Audi believes it’s taken regenerative braking to new heights with the upcoming e-tron SUV. The all-electric sport-ute will debut a new energy recuperation system that Audi says contributes up to 30 percent of its range.
According to Audi, the e-tron SUV will be capable of recovering 1 mile of range for every mile driven downhill. When the automaker drove an e-tron prototype 19 miles from the summit of Pikes Peak down to the base, the SUV got roughly that much range back from brake regen. This extra efficiency is made possible by two electric motors and a new electrohydraulically integrated brake control system working in concert. The e-tron uses just the electric motors for all braking needs up to 0.3 g, which Audi says covers more than 90 percent of all situations. When more stopping force is needed, the electrohydraulically integrated brake control system decides how much hydraulic brake pressure to use and can employ discs and pads exclusively or use a combination of regular and regenerative brakes. Drivers can also trigger regenerative braking manually using steering wheel paddles.
We learned earlier this year that the e-tron would have a WLTP-estimated range of 248.5 miles and be capable of recharging in under 30 minutes on a 150-kilowatt fast charger, but what we didn’t know was the SUV’s power output. Now, we have a much better idea. Audi says the prototype produces 355 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque from its two asynchronous electric motors in normal mode, but shifting to Sport and hammering the accelerator pedal unlocks “boost mode,” which ups output to 402 hp and 490 lb-ft for eight seconds. In that mode, Audi claims the e-tron can sprint to 62 mph in less than six seconds.
The production e-tron Quattro is set to be revealed later this year and will go on sale sometime in 2019.