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„E-lec-Tron"

In the era of global overpopulation, polluted environment, supposedly ending fossil fuel resources and dynamic development of new technologies implemented into civilian cars, it could be expected that hybrid drives would transform into purely electrical ones. People for many years have been figuring out what to do, not to pour petrol, oil or gas into the tank. I remember while I used to be in elementary school, I heard about a project carried out by BMW, as part of which a hydrogen powered car was supposed to be built (who knows maybe it was created). I also knew about the existence of our Polish constructor who installed a mechanism he had designed in an old Mercedes, which was used for supplying the vehicle with the previously mentioned type of fuel. Hyundai carried out similar work on a full-scale and from the information I have, it appears that such a car was actually made, but unfortunately in the testing phase problems occurred during the operation, which of course could be eliminated, but it was associated with considerable costs, which were significantly increased by the cost of production of the final version. The advantage but also the problem of burning pure hydrogen is water vapor, which obviously does not pollute the natural environment, but unfortunately very easily changes the physical state. In practice, this would mean that such a car would have operational restrictions especially at low and very high temperatures. Certainly, in huge trucks, the installation could be expanded with some non-freezing systems and efficient cooling at high temperatures, but in a passenger car it is rather impossible due to the limited space where all this complicated technology could be hidden. Anyway, in the years when this type of work was carried out, Arab countries experienced a real influx of petro-bucks, so they did not care much about killing such a wonderful spring. For this reason, according to the legend, most of the logical patents that could threaten Arab interests was put in a drawer somewhere in the Middle East.., of course not for free, but for big millions of US bucks. As I mentioned in the article I created describing BMW i3s, the electricity in cars could already be seen at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010. The problem was that most concept cars, some o which eventually hit the road a few years later, did not have long range that rarely exceeded 200 kilometers on one full charge, and how long did the charging take? Years ahead... The word has been said and the world began to demand a real premium electric car. Elon Musk and its Tesla came with the help to the planet and at the same time with the space technology, Tesla drives extremely fast, exceeding 400, maybe 500 kilometers on a single charge, but unfortunately it can break down, it costs a fortune and has only one authorized salon with service in Poland. We had to wait a bit for the answer and as we could expect it came from Germany, and specifically from Ingolstadt. In 2019, Audi displayed an e-tron, a fully electric SUV, whose range at full charge exceeds 400 kilometers and which is just standing on Milczańska street under the block in which I live. Well, let's see if there is any truth in the manufacturer's electrifying declarations marked by four wheels…

 

Audi e-tron
09 August 2019

I am not crazy about the e-tron external appearance, it is similar to the Q5 model, just a nice, fashionable, new and decent SUV. Big wheel arches and 21-inch wheel rims make a big impression and give dignity to this high power, electric toy. The e-tron's real gem is its interior which can be a role model for many car manufacturers in the world. The interior looks as if it were cast from a perfect mould, which was designed and created only for this car. I didn't find anything that was lousy, cheap and annoying, and sitting behind the wheel of the car I literally saw in front of my eyes the scene acted by five engineers, who sit day and night sketching this cockpit project, and everyone else checks if anybody has made a mistake. The correctness to excess. Until now, Audi was a bit annoying because it resembled Volkswagen too much in the car models they produced under their logo. I didn't find much in this car from VW, at least from the point of view of an ordinary driver. Technology, electronics, technique are here to stay in this car which is clearly seen at every turn. The functions and settings will not be described because they are almost identical to the models A6 and Q8 (with an emphasis on the more extensive Q8 menu). Only is it really useful? Not really because you will see that several times as a boast to family and friends you change the colors of the interior lighting, the appearance of clocks or menus, you will show how tactile mirrors work, 3d reversing camera and you won't come back to that soon. The menu is intuitive, in Polish, and practically entirely controlled by touch on the screens, that work fine. The only thing that I lacked a bit was more complex animated graphics, which would show while driving how exactly the drive and energy distribution work in individual traffic situations. Of course, such graphics are, but in my opinion Audi can do better and it could just create something cooler. The mirrors, and actually two screens with a nice resolution located in the corners of the front door are integrated with cameras installed in places of traditional mirrors, it is definitely an absolute novelty.., at least for me. You have to get used to it, and basically learn how to use it first, which looks like this; after touching the screen on the driver's side a menu will be displayed, through which we can choose the mirror we want to set. We choose left or right and then with a finger movement on the touch screen we set one of them. Then enter the vehicle settings on the monitor located in the center console and set the brightness of both mirrors (monitors). However, if we are not sure what we see in our side monitors then a 3D camera comes in handy, which registers the image around the entire vehicle, and in addition it can be controlled in any direction, giving the impression of being in a virtual reality, in which we see our vehicle against the backdrop of the real background around the car. The seats in my Audi are definitely more comfortable than sports and that's good because I don't expect from this car driving experiences comparable to those offered by cars built for variations on the road.., but is it really like that?..

 

"The manager's office"

I press the brake pedal with the Start button and I hear absolute silence.., no gasing, convulsions, smell of exhaust fumes, bubbling, the bonnet vaporous from temperature, just nothing but a message on the display saying that the e-tron is fully ready to carry out my road commands. I put my hand on the sensationally shaped gear lever (in a car without a gearbox) I put D and move… I already like it. Gliding over the road surface, I imagine how cool it will be when there are only electric cars on the streets, what will be the peace and rest for our ears, nothing but the noise of tires and the sound of electric motors, which can be clearly heard only when the accelerator pedal is pressed harder. Before I got into this car, its batteries were about 75% charge, which translated into a range of approximately 280 kilometers. The manufacturer declares that fully charged batteries will allow you to travel approximately 415 kilometers.., we will see. Since I don't like air conditioning, I just opened the windows, turned off the monitors, displays and gadgets instead turning on the efficiency mode to enjoy a quiet ride on a warm spring day. Carefully controlling the mileage I had to go without charging, I found it better than good because this is not enough, the range does not decrease quickly, despite covering the next kilometers it can even increase !!! The perfect vehicle? No, just driving style and intelligent energy management, which we as drivers have a significant influence on. Here's how it works; there are paddles on the steering wheel, but for what? There is no combustion engine and gearbox here.., so what are they for? The paddles are used to manage energy recovery from electric motors, which are then used to charge the battery. If you see a red light at a crossroads from a distance, press the left paddle shifter once or twice, and you will feel that the car clearly slows down. Right now thanks to engine braking, energy will be recovered which recharges the batteries in your car. Brilliant and noticeable because we will increase the number of kilometers to travel without having to recharge the batteries. However, will e-tron drive all year round with open windows, calmly and not using the equipment that was intended for it? Well no, that's why I started with an air conditioning and here the first electric failure takes the form of a decrease in mileage of about 15%. Then I connected a USB Flash Drive with music but this did not affect the battery charge in any particular way. The problem appeared when connecting the phone to a wireless charger because suddenly the mileage went down a few more percent. I decided to deal the final blow and turned on the sport mode, to see what a car can do, whose engine power is 370/410 horses (410 horses with Boost function). E-tron is fast, and it doesn't have any turbo hole or delay caused by the transmission characteristics, which is simply not there. We simply push the gas and immediately feel a solid shot forward.., and from zero to 200 km/h. We reach the first hundred after 6.6s or 5.7s during the operating mentioned Boost function, whose operation is based on the principle of momentary increase of engine power to the maximum value. Unfortunately, after a few seconds of fun in the "sharp shooting" batteries need to cool down for several minutes, which means that by then our Audi will offer us a maximum of 370 horsepower. You probably wonder what's going on with the range.., well, we don't drive too long, I think, and we are considering a forced stop somewhere in the middle of the road that we intended to cover. Only if it's Audi's fault, technology or something else? In my opinion no, because driving a car equipped with a 2, 3, 4 or 5-liter internal combustion engine, if we turn on sport mode, the fuel consumption will increase by up to 200% and more, with the difference that we can find gasoline at every station, and it will take only a few minutes to refuel it, and the electricity? Unfortunately, we will not find electricity everywhere, and if so, charging the battery will push us to a longer forced stop. Audi declares that at the 150 kW fast charging station we will refill the electricity from 5 to 80% in 30 minutes. A 50 kW charger will charge our batteries up to 80% in less than 85 minutes, 22 kW power will meet the needs of our car in 4.5 hours, and the usual power in the garage (11 kW) will manage the batteries in less than 9 hours. Audi e-tron has an adapter that will allow us to charge the battery directly from the home socket.., in less than 30 hours. From the information I obtained, the cost of driving 100 kilometers with this car should not exceed 4 Euro. The moment I saw in the catalog information about the weight of the vehicle, I rubbed my eyes in surprise because the e-tron weighs over 2.5 tons and this is not a joke. I started to wonder if this "truck" can handle a sharp turn at all and you know what? This Audi is probably the first SUV that I would like to enter the race track to have fun. The Quattro drive and torsion rear axle do such work that it's hard to feel where the adhesion limit is.., and believe it is very shifted upwards. To sum up, the car sticks to surface, which is not dry, because I did not check it on wet. Is there any "unfortunately" in this car.., unfortunately it is. The childhood diseases in mass production are a standard, which didn't miss an electric child from Ingolstadt. Driving the highway, I noticed that to go straight I need to have the steering wheel slightly left turn.., something like old Mercedes cabs with curved steering wheel (fortunately not so much). At first I thought it was a convergence, but the car goes straight after releasing the steering wheel so that's not it. When it was getting dark outside, I noticed that one "left camera mirror" and basically the image in it is visibly darker. I adjusted the brightness in the settings and for a while everything’s back to normal.., unfortunately for a while because later it got visibly darker. When I drove up to the garage and put the reverse gear, it turned out that the reversing camera stopped working.., well, a dark mirror that I'm not used to and the lack of a reversing camera is an obvious difficulty that's why I got out from time to time to check if I would "hit" in the walls with a car for over 90,000 Euro. The PDC system is so sensitive that it peeps like crazy even at the view of the curb, which can be beaten by our SUV with ease and without any damage. I am convinced that the Audi will remove these problems mainly electronic nature, but.., the steering wheel in such a car should be set before leaving the factory. When I parked safely, it was time to feed our "ElekTron" and again advantage thanks to technology. From one side, on both sides of the fenders there are flaps with a button painted in the color of the body. After pressing the button, the covers open and the charging socket appears to our eyes. At the front under the bonnet there is a storage place, in which there is a charger, an adapter and cables. We pull out whole set, we connect to energy in the garage and voila. The e-tron „nourishes” for about 8 hours. Here again I found two reasons to complain, namely, the storage space under the hood looks cheap, the plastic flap gives the impression that it is about to fall off. Well, they could at least mount some imitation of the engine cover with a nice inscription from Audi and green leaves. Second thing is my stupidity.., me gawk, I did not know how to unplug the e-tron plug first. I won't pull it because it's not Skoda 105 and if it doesn't want to leave, it means something is up. In fact, to disconnect the plug from the charging socket you have to press the same button that opens the lid/power inlet :)

Is this what I will be looking for in the future? No, this is what will find me in the future. I believe that Audi e-tron has set the direction in which luxury car manufacturers will follow. Soon there will be more such cars, electric, advanced robots, which we will use every day. Has this brave step succeeded? Yes, the employees of the Ingolstadt group definitely get the job done and they created a decent, fully electric car which certainly test itself in the role of the companion of further and closer journeys. I have only one question.., what about ECO? After all, batteries will last 8 or 10 years and will have to be disposed of, which is a harmful process. Has anyone ever calculated what amounts of fossil fuels must be used to produce energy that will satisfy the appetites of millions of such e-trons ??? Answers to these and other questions will probably bring us the closest future.

In conclusion, thank you very much to Audi Krotoski and Cichy from Szczecin for sharing this amazing car. Special thanks to Maciej Stepien and the whole Audi sales team !!!

 

Artur Rojewski

"Thundering wheels"

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Attention! This site is for information purposes only, does not promote any driving style and is not of a training nature. All cars covered by the descriptions and photos posted on this site are used in accordance with traffic regulations and with the highest security measures in order not to cause any damage to road users. The author of the blog is not responsible for other road users who in a manner inconsistent with traffic regulations or with the exposure to the health and life of others, will use vehicles on public roads and outside them.