Archive for November, 2010

Audi A6 hybrid will be the second audi hybrid car

The first new Audi hybrid car will be the Audi Q5 hybrid but it was unknown if the next one would follow up with the Q7 hybrid concept or another model.

It’s now confirmed that the Audi A6 hybrid will be the next hybrid model in Audi’s lineup.

While early hints suggested that it would use a 3.0L supercharged engine it’s now known that it will use a 2.0L turbocharged engine like the Q5 hybrid.  The total power will be 245 horsepower but the torque is unknown.  Since it looks like the engine is the same as the Q5 hybrid’s, it should be 354 lb-ft which is quite a lot.   To put that in comparison, that’s more torque than the current 4.2L V8 engine!  Needless to say, with only 245 horsepower you won’t win drag races against sports cars but the car will have no problem getting out of its own way.

0-60 is projected to be about 7.2 seconds which isn’t super fast but it’s more than enough for daily driving.  Remember that a common 0-60 time for older cars used to be around 10 seconds and some of the slower cars today still linger around 9 seconds.  6 seconds would be sports car territory and remember that it’s more fun to drive a slower car fast than a faster car slow.

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Exclusive Fisker Karma video

A friend went to the 2010 LA Auto show and shot this video footage of the Fisker Karma.

For those who don’t know what it is, it’s the first modern production plug in hybrid.  It combines a 2.0L turbocharged engine, the GM ecotec, running an electric generator.  The drive wheels are powered only by the electric motors.  The hybrid drive is similar to the Chevy volt but the Volt’s engine does power the car under some circumstances when it’s most efficient.  It’s also unique in that it’s a luxury sports sedan.  The range should be around 50 miles on all electric before the gas engine has to charge the battery.

Fisker Karma – Los Angeles Auto Show – 2010 from Michael Slade on Vimeo.

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What is e-quattro?

Audi has the term “e-quattro” which is the next gen quattro drive.  It’s either partial or full electric all wheel drive.  In the Audi R8 e-tron EV, e-quattro is provided by the four electric motors, one per wheel. The motors can be individually accelerated and decelerated with high precision by an intelligent management system – innovative torque vectoring enhances the driving dynamics and stability to a level never before known.  A similarly intelligent distribution of the drive torque can also be achieved if a combustion engine and electric motor are each driving different axles


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More on the Audi Q5 hybrid and how it works

Audi also released this video showing more on the operating modes of the Audi Q5 hybrid

You can see the basic modes including boost, coasting, acceleration, and regenerative braking.   Interestingly enough, the Q5 does not have an engine rpm tachometer.  I am not aware of any car sold in the US in recent memory that didn’t have a tachometer.  There are cars like the older VWs that only had a speedometer but a tachometer is still listed under the monroney (the new car sticker) sticker features list.  Instead, the Q5 has a percent power.  In addition to engine rpm, this also takes into consideration engine and electric hybrid drive load.

Will US consumers find this confusing?  It should improve fuel economy because studies have shown that when people have a fuel economy gauge in their car, they learn how to drive for best economy.

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Martin Eberhard to leave VW electric

The contract of the cofounder of Tesla and the adviser to VW’s CA research lab, Martin Eberhard, is expiring and according to Wired magazine, is not being renewed.  Eberhard is reported to be raising money for yet another automotive start up.  It’s a safe bet that it will involve electric vehicles in some way.

The split is amicable but one has to wonder why a leader in electric automotive technology would want to leave one of the world’s major car manufacturers.  My guess is that it’s for the same reason anyone leaves a job – they think they can do better elsewhere.  If he wants to start another small electric vehicle company, is there room for more than Tesla and the existing big automotive industry players?

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2012 Audi R8 etron full EV

As an interesting concept, Audi has made an R8 etron.  The big news is that they have announced a limited production run for model year 2012.  This doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to buy one because they could just a string of cars for testing.   This is their Audi R8 but with 2 big electric motors powering each axle (2 in the front powering the front wheels and 2 in the rear powering the rear wheels, all through a single staged transmission).

What is the power of the 2012 Audi R8 etron?

Peak power is only 313 hp but it has 3319 lb-ft of torque!   By comparison, this is about 10 times as much torque as the standard V8 powered R8!

Why is acceleration so slow for all that torque?

Why is 0-60 only about 4.8 seconds?  Electric motors produce peak torque when they are stopped.  As the car begins to move, torque drops off.  In addition, acceleration would be hurt by big torque numbers if it wasn’t controlled by traction control.  Too much torque can overpower the tires and result in wheelspin.  If the wheels are spinning it means the car isn’t moving.

Curb weight of the Audi r8 etron and more specs

The nice thing about the EV R8 etron is that it keeps the normal car’s appearance and even keeps the weight distribution of the V10 R8.  Just like the regular R8, 70% of power goes to the rear wheels and 30% goes to the front wheels under normal conditions.  Curb weight is 3527 lbs which is about the same as the heavier V10 R8.  The lighter V8 R8 has a more neutral weight distribution but the V10 is much faster due to the extra power.  Below is a video showing the R8 etron.

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Audi was first to have plug in hybrid

There is plenty of attention on the Chevy volt plug in hybrid and future Prius which will have plug in capability.

However, it was actually Audi which had the first plug in hybrid, the Audi duo.

Gm’s EV1 was a plug in electric vehicle but not a hybrid.  The Prius was a hybrid but no production car has yet had plug in capability.  Audi debuted the 1989 concept car, the Audi duo, to demonstrate hybrid technology.  It was based off an Audi 100 had a 5 cylinder gas engine with a small electric motor driving the rear wheels.  In 1997, Audi started selling the Audi A4 based production Audi duo featuring a 1.9L TDI engine with a water cooled 29 hp electric motor, both driving the front wheels.  The battery was a lead gelatin battery and the plug in hybrid featured brake regeneration.  Unfortunately, the very high price and heavy weight meant lower fuel economy compared to a TDI minus the hybrid system, and only about 60 were built.  Not much is known about it but it probably worked very similar to today’s hybrids.  Below is a picture of the duo.

audi duo plug in hybrid


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Audi Q5 hybrid will use li-ion batteries

Early reports have said that the Audi Q5 hybrid will use the Nickel metal hydride batteries of the VW Touareg hybrid and Porsche Cayenne hybrid but I can confirm that according to Audi’s latest press reports as of November 11, 2010,

the Audi Q5 hybrid will use lithium ion batteries.

The parallel hybrid system allows electric only driving up to 37 mph for up to 1.86 miles with a maximum speed of 62 mph on electric drive alone!  (The electric only range will obviously go down at those speeds).  The battery weighs 84 lbs and takes up a volume of 6.9 gallons which is small enough to fit in the back of the Q5 chassis.  It’s made up of 72 cells, at 266 V its nominal energy is 1.3 kWh and output of 39 kW.

Compared to the NiMH battery pack in the VW Touareg/Porsche Cayenne, which has 240 cells with 288 V, a a battery capacity of 75 Ah, energy density of 1.7 kWh, and peak power output of 38 kWh, as expected, the Q5 hybrid’s more advanced li-ion battery is slightly lighter and with many fewer cells.

Much like the Touareg hybrid and Cayenne hybrid, the battery pack is air cooled with the interior air fan.  However, the Audi Q5 hybrid also adds liquid cooling if it gets too hot.  Interestingly enough, the battery coolant is also coupled to the interior climate heat control.  The coolant lines are visible in the pictures below.


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The first specs on the Audi Q5 hybrid

Although the Audi Q7 concept hybrid was shown a while ago, the Audi Q5 hybrid will be the first production hybrid car by Audi worldwide.

The engine in the Audi Q5 hybrid will be a 2.0L turbo plus a hybrid machine

The gasoline engine is used across many VW/Audi products and makes 208 horsepower.  The electric machine makes 44 hp.  The total combined torque is 354 lb-ft of torque which would be good even for a V8 engine.  This is going to be one fast vehicle!

Below is the first look at the car showing the drivetrain and more.


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A look at VW’s battery research lab

Tesla’s cofounder Martin Eberhard heads VW’s lab in Palo Alto which researches batteries.  Using laptop type lithium ion batteries, he is able to make a 200 mile range full EV Golf and Audi e-tron with a 300 mile range.  Toyota is also looking at using laptop type batteries for their car through the researchers at Tesla.

How soon will it be before a VW electric vehicle or Golf hybrid comes along?

The first car that VW has confirmed is the 2012 VW Jetta hybrid.  Specs are still under wraps but it should be a nice preview of the Golf full EV or VW’s next full electric vehicle.

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