With Earth Day approaching, Audi has good news for its customers and for all concerned with the state of the environment today. Firstly, following the successful preview of the all-electric SUV – the new Audi e-tron Quattro prototype – at the Geneva Motor Show, the premium automobile manufacturer has announced that the production version of the car will be unleashed in the European Market at the end 2018, and in New Zealand in 2019.
Close on the heels comes the good news that the Audi production site at Brussels has been certified as a CO2-neutral plant. This is a first for any high-volume car production plant belonging to the premium segment.
Incidentally, the company spokesperson also tells us that the first batch production of the all-electric SUV will take place exclusively in the above-mentioned carbon-neutral Audi Brussels site.
Here are some crucial facts about this Audi all-electric that you may be interested in.
Intensive Tests Around the World
The firm has revealed that before they start production on the vehicle, 250 Audi e-tron prototype vehicles are being used for intensive tests on different grounds. To begin with, the development vehicles will be run in extreme weather zones situated across four different continents to ensure that the vehicle will be able to withstand the demands of extreme weather conditions and will be suitable for all climate zones.
The car is also designed so that it can draw maximum benefit from the so-called ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ (roughly translated as “progress through technology”). This will enable the vehicle to run long distances on full charge. No information has been provided so far by the car manufacturer as to the exact range of the all-electric car, however most speculations set the range at around 400 km (about 250 miles) when running at full charge.
The company has revealed that the production version of this SUV will be able to fill up at fast-charging stations (charging capacity of up to 150kw) in under 30 minutes. The charging technology used for the vehicle is also undergoing rigorous tests both in public areas and on proving grounds to have a better understanding of the different charging options that a user will have.
More All-Electric Audi Models
The enthusiasts of all-electric vehicles will also be delighted to know that the firm has extensive plans to add a good number of all-electric models in their range in the coming years. At the Geneva Show, a statement from a company representative tells us that the number of purely electric powered models will go up to three by the year 2020. In addition to the current sporty SUV, there will be an all-electric model in the compact segment as well as a luxury four door Gran Turismo.
And for good measure, the company is planning to launch as many as 25 electric and hybrid (plug-in) models by 2025!
Another curious fact concerning this all-electric SUV is that, contrary to Audi’s convention of camouflaging their cars during road tests, this time they did not try to make this test launch a secret. On the contrary, they encouraged enthusiasts to post photos of the vehicle, wrapped in a specially designed black and orange foil with the letterings E TRON splattered all over it, on social media under the hashtag ‘#etron.’
Shortly after the Geneva Motor Show, Vinçotte, the Belgian testing company, awarded a ‘carbon-neutral site’ certificate to the Audi Brussels plant. But it is even more heartening to know that Audi is sincerely working towards making all their production facilities more environmentally friendly.
Peter Kössler, from Audi production and logistics, informs that the group is trying to make all their plants more sustainable by gradually resorting to green electricity for a vast majority of their operations. Kössler adds that last year, the firm also enjoyed the distinction of being the first company in Germany to make all domestic rail transport in the country climate neutral.
As for the Brussels site, it was the first plant in the premium car manufacturing segment to convert to green electricity, which was done back in 2012. At present, use of clean electricity and renewable heating (meeting its heating requirements using biogas) account for 95% of the total energy requirements of the plant. The remaining 5% which still requires CO2 emission is compensated by the various carbon credit and emissions-offset programs undertaken by the company.
To put it in numbers, the use of clean electricity at the plant saves around 17,000 tons of CO2 every year. And the use of biogas and other renewable energy sources help avoid carbon emissions of up to 40,000 tons per year. We may also add here that in 2014, Audi became the first premium auto manufacturer to get their carbon footprint measured and certified.
The head of environmental protection for the Audi group lets us know that since then, the company has been working steadily to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible. Many new technologies have been installed in the hope that they will help improve recycling, prevent air pollution and reduce water consumption dramatically across all its plants.