Trials have now begun of the electric Audi A1 e-tron , an electric car with a range-extender engine , capable of fuel economy of 148 mpg .
The Audi A1 e-tron is a range-extender electric car with an output of 102 PS and a top speed of 81 mph. If the battery runs low on charge, a compact combustion engine – the range extender – recharges it as needed to boost the vehicle’s operating range to as much as 155 miles. This compact electric car is a zero-emissions vehicle for the first 31 miles of a trip – in city traffic, for instance. The battery comprises a package of lithium-ion modules mounted in the floor assembly in front of the rear axle. The four-seat A1 e-tron was designed for daily driving in metropolitan areas. It offers ‘fuel economy’ of up to 148.7 mpg, for a CO 2
equivalent of just 45 g/km (calculated as per the proposed standard for determining the fuel efficiency of vehicles with range extenders).
Twenty A1 e-trons are now on the streets of Munich as part of an extensive pilot trial and data capture exercise. The fleet trial project has been initiated by Audi, the power company E.ON, the public utility Stadtwerke München (SWM) and Technische Universität München (TUM), to see how electric power integrates into day-to-day motoring, and to identify how the existing transport and communications infrastructure might need to adapt to support this.
E.ON and SWM are responsible for expanding and maintaining the charging infrastructure in the Munich metropolitan area, and have already installed a demand-oriented charging network there – SWM within the Bavarian capital’s city limits and E.ON primarily in outlying areas. All the electric ‘fuelling stations’ offer power generated via renewable energies.
This trial is part of a project referred to as “Electric Mobility in Munich as a Pilot Region”, sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. The Ministry is providing the region with some ten million euros for electric mobility. This project will address a number of issues, ranging from the power grid itself to data transfer between drivers, vehicles, and electric fuelling stations. For example, the use of a smartphone as a driver’s main interface will be examined.
E.ON has already developed commercially viable charging solutions for various scenarios. For example, it offers a package to private individuals in Germany that comprises renewable ‘green power’ and a charging box for use with electric vehicles at home. This is available subject to a safety inspection by E.ON of each customer’s electrical equipment to ensure that it can withstand the heavy loads associated with recharging an electric vehicle for hours.
E.ON also supplies charging stations open to the general public – primarily commercial customers. At these stations, two electric cars can recharge their batteries at the same time via different charging points. Magnetic-stripe cards grant drivers access. Both types of electric fuelling stations are being used in the Munich fleet trial. In addition, E.ON is focusing on direct-current (DC) fast charging as well as cable-free charging.
During the project, TUM is collecting and analysing data on mobility, concentrating specifically on the situations in which people drive electric cars, the degree to which they drive them and how this technology will influence the use of other means of transportation. To answer these questions, the departments of Automotive Engineering and of Ergonomics have developed a mobile application that all fleet-trial participants can use on their smartphones. These devices will thoroughly document participants’ mobility behaviour, taking into account everything from electric cars and combustion-engine passenger vehicles right through to buses, trains and bicycles. At the same time, the Department of Services Marketing is conducting a study to ascertain suitable models for billing electric-mobility customers.