Audi e-tron will have impressive aero and virtual mirrors(!)

Audi’s upcoming e-tron SUV is going to be the brand’s first fully-electric vehicle. There have been a couple of plug-in hybrids from Audi before but the Audi e-tron will be its first fully BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), without the use of a conventional engine. Because of that, the folks in Ingolstadt are pulling out all the stops. One of which is aerodynamics, which is something that’s very important for an EV, as the slipperier it is through the air, the better range it has. According to Audi, the e-tron will sport a drag coefficient of 0.28, making it tops in the SUV segment.

According to Audi, that ultra-slippery drag coefficient helps to give the e-tron its claimed 400 kilometers (248.5 mi) of range. Its aerodynamics were tested at Audi’s Wind Tunnel Center in Ingolstadt, which is apparently the quietest wind tunnel facility in the world. Not sure what that has to do with the e-tron’s drag coefficient but Audi felt the need to mention it in the press release. Despite being quiet, though, it is very strong. With an output of 2.6 megawatts, the fan produces speeds of up to 300 km/h (186.4 mph) and the Audi e-tron prototype was put through over 1,000 hours of testing here.

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At high speed, Audi claims that aerodynamic drag is by far the largest contributor to resistance, far more so than the rolling resistance of tires and inertia. More energy is needed to overcome aerodynamic resistance when moving quickly than, say, moving in traffic. So that’s why aerodynamic efficiency is so important to a car like the Audi e-tron, as it needs to be able to complete semi-long journeys and a lower drag coefficient helps.

One of the most impressive ways to improve drag on the e-tron was to give it some funky, high-tech mirrors. The optional virtual mirrors for the Audi e-tron will be a world premiere on a production car. The mirrors themselves are much smaller and narrower, allowing for not only better drag but less wind noise. Each of the supports that mount them to the body feature small cameras that display on little OLED screens between the instrument panel and the door. There will also be displays in the MMI system as well, three of them in fact; one for parking, one for highway use and one for turning. Very cool stuff.

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We’re incredibly excited to see the upcoming Audi e-tron SUV. Not only will it be Audi’s first-ever production BEV but it’s shaping up to be a damn good car. We’re loving everything we’re hearing about it so far so we can’t wait to see it in the flesh and get our paws on it.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.