Audi says future models getting 48-volt electrical system

Audi has disclosed plans to implement its newly developed 48-volt electrical system on forthcoming models. This represents only a taste of what’s to come in terms of technological innovations which will be seen in future products from Ingolstadt that will benefit from new advanced systems that will not have a negative effect on the car’s efficiency and engine performances.

The 48-volt electrical system was showcased recently in the A6 TDI and RS5 TDI concepts which featured an electrically-powered compressor operating independently of the engine load which helps improve accelerative performance. According to Audi, using this newly developed electrical system is also suitable for creating convenience systems for dynamic chassis control which they say will be unveiled in a short while.

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The German marque believes the 12-volt electrical systems have reached their limits, especially at low temperatures and they say the battery power doesn’t have the capability to meet demands of new dynamic-load consumers like high-performance electric compressors. Audi’s solution is to use a subsidiary electrical system working at 48 volts which complements the regular 12-volt power supply.

Thanks to the higher voltage of a 48-volt electrical system, smaller cable cross-sections are necessary which means a car with such a system will have lighter cable harnesses with lower power dissipation. Moreover, a 48-volt system benefits from newly developed storage technologies and is capable of delivering considerably more power compared to a 12-volt system featuring lead batteries.

Adrian Padeanu

Long-time fan of the fabled Four Rings.