PPE technology platform with an electric drive system
Ingolstadt – Systematically designed from the inside out, Audi has unveiled plans for the Audi urbansphere concept car. Designers and engineers initially created the Audi urbansphere for use in traffic-dense Chinese megacities, although the concept is also suitable for any other metropolitan center in the world. In these urban areas, where personal space is in particularly short supply, the concept car offers the largest interior space of any Audi to date. It intelligently coordinates this with technologies and digital services that appeal to all the senses and offer a whole new level of experience.
“In order to meet the demands of our Chinese customers, Audi’s design studios in Beijing and Ingolstadt worked together closely to jointly develop the Audi urbansphere concept car,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board Management at AUDI AG and responsible for the Chinese market. For the first time, potential customers in China could also take part in the development process, contributing their own desires and perspectives as part of a process known as “co-creation”
The result can be seen in the Audi urbansphere concept and its particularly striking interior. The spacious automobile acts as a lounge on wheels and a mobile office, serving as a third living space during the time spent in traffic. To this end, the Audi urbansphere combines the luxury of complete privacy with a comprehensive range of high-tech features on board, even during the daily rush hour. Automated driving technology transforms the interior, in which a steering wheel, pedals, or displays are notably absent, into a mobile interactive space that provides a gateway to a wider digital ecosystem.
Drive system and charging
The technology platform of the Audi urbansphere – the Premium Platform Electric or PPE –was designed exclusively for battery-electric drive systems and therefore takes full advantage of all the benefits of this technology. The key element of the PPE is a battery module between the axles, which – as in the Audi grandsphere – holds around 120-kilowatt hours of energy. Audi has succeeded in achieving a flat layout for the battery by using almost the entire base of the vehicle between the axles.
Together with the large 24-inch wheels, this produces basic proportions that are perfect not only from a design perspective. The core benefits include a long interior and therefore legroom in both rows of seats. Additionally, the absence of a gearbox cover and a cardan tunnel increases spatial comfort in electric cars.
The Audi urbansphere concept’s two electric motors are capable of delivering a total output of 295 kilowatts and a system torque of 690-newton meters. These are impressive figures that are often not fully utilized when driving in dense urban traffic. Nevertheless, the Audi urbansphere is still equipped with a permanent quattro four-wheel drive –an essential feature for the brand’s high-performance models.
The concept car has one electric motor on each of the front and rear axles which, by means of electronic coordination, implements the permanently available all-wheel drive as required, balancing these perfectly against economy and range requirements.
One innovative feature is that the motor on the front axle can be deactivated as required in order to reduce friction and thus energy consumption when coasting.
Fast charging, high range
The heart of the drive system is the 800-volt charging technology. It ensures that the battery can be charged with up to 270 kilowatts at fast-charging stations in the shortest possible time. As such, charging times approach those of a conventional stop to refuel a car powered by an internal combustion engine: just ten minutes are enough to charge the battery to a level sufficient to power the car more than 300 kilometers (186 miles). In addition, the battery, which holds more than 120-kilowatt hours, can be charged from 5 to 80 percent in less than 25 minutes. This means that a range of up to 750 kilometers (466 miles) can be expected according to the WLTP standard –and even when used for more energy-intensive city and short-distance trips, it is generally possible to avoid making unexpected stops to charge.