800V Innovation: The Audi Q6 e-tron Launch
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800V Innovation: The Audi Q6 e-tron Launch

audi q6 e-tron front view parked on wooden driveway
  • The Audi Q6 e-tron is launching on a new 800V battery jointly designed with Porsche.
  • The benchmark of faster charging from 10%-80% is achieved in just 21 minutes.
  • All trim levels exceed 300 miles of range, up to 388 miles for the top trim.
  • The vehicle’s new battery chemistry, with less cobalt, is handsomely housed with dynamic OLED lighting accents.

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Within the increasingly crowded mid-size SUV section of the EV market, the Audi Q6 e-tron is a bold attempt to distinguish itself — and it goes way more than skin deep. This vehicle is a marvelous result of collaborative engineering between VW siblings Audi and Porsche and is Audi’s first vehicle built on the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE).

The Audi Q6 e-tron release date is late 2024, and the finer details about the vehicle and novel PPE within it are still being teased out. A thrilling pair of all-wheel-drive high-performance models, the Audi Q6 e-tron quattro and the SQ6 e-tron, will lead the model’s debut, followed later by two sensible rear-wheel-drive models prioritizing efficiency.


Faster Charging

The 800V high voltage system of the Audi Q6 e-tron is the crux, bringing faster charging and enhanced performance. Unlike the 400V systems common in many of today’s EVs, including sedans and SUVs from Tesla, the performance promises stem from the 800V setup. This type of high-voltage system requires higher quality and more expensive components, yet it also allows for an appreciable reduction in parts and complexity plus (according to company engineers) superior methods of thermal management.

The results are impressive — 158 miles of driving range can be added in 10 minutes, and 21 minutes can bring a driver from 10% to 80% charge. While this requires compatible 800V charging equipment, Audi claims another engineering first: “bank charging” for when only the more common 400V charging equipment is available. The company says, “the 800-volt battery is automatically divided into two batteries at equal voltage, which can then be charged in parallel.”


Less Cobalt

The battery pack itself is an accomplishment of engineering, crossing mechanical, chemical, and electrical disciplines. The battery chemistry achieves a nickel, cobalt, and manganese ratio of 8:1:1.

This reduction of reliance on cobalt and increase of nickel content enhances the battery’s energy density and notably helps address ethical and supply chain concerns. The tangible result is a vehicle model lineup capable of 300+ miles of range, up to 388 miles in the top trim.


Simplicity and Automation

Cutting the number of modules and cells (from 36 modules and 432 cells in the previous e-tron to just 12 modules and 180 cells) simultaneously reduces the weight of the Audi Q6 e-tron and significantly increases the efficiency of assembly — around 90% of the process is automated.


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In a virtuous cycle, parts reductions lead to weight reductions, allowing the battery to be repackaged in a way that is both safer and more aerodynamic, and lead to further improvements in range and speed.


OLED Lighting

Since the original Iron Man with the Audi R8 and its iconic curved LED headlights, Audi’s lighting technology and aesthetic have captivated pop culture. They continue this legacy of illuminating innovation with new OLED lights that are customizable at the front and situationally dynamic at the rear. It seeks to enhance safety by displaying recognizable icons for situations like a vehicle breakdown or an opening door in traffic.

César Muntada, Head of Lighting Design, encapsulates this evolution: “We have given the light signature its own personality, ushering in a new era characterized by unique design and aesthetics that only Audi can offer.”

I believe it’s worth noting, however, these advanced lighting features may face challenges in the U.S. regulatory approval process when transitioning from Germany to U.S. markets, and some of the dynamic features may be disabled by U.S. safety regulators.


Audi Q6 e-tron Specs

If you want the nitty-gritty details like the range and interior of the Audi Q6 e-tron, here are the specs:

CategoryInformation
RangeUp to 388 miles.
AccelerationMaximum output: 380 kW,
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 4.3 seconds.
Fast Charging10-80%: 21 minutes,
158 miles: 10 minutes.
BatteryGross: 100 kWh / Net: 94.9 kWh,
Ratio of nickel, cobalt, and manganese: 8:1:1.
AerodynamicsDrag Coefficient: 0.28 cw
Frontal area: 2.73 m2
CapacityFrunk: 2.3 cu ft,
Luggage Compartment: 18.6 cu ft.
DimensionsLength: 15.6 ft (4,771 mm),
Width: 7.0 ft (2,139 mm) / without mirrors: 6.4 ft (1,939 mm),
Height: 5.4 ft (1,648 mm),
Wheelbase 9.5 ft (2,899 mm).
Towing5,291 lbs.

Why Audi’s PPE and Q6 e-tron Matter

Audi and Porsche picked high-quality engineering solutions to two of the biggest concerns of future EV drivers: total range and charging speed. These siblings pioneer with their new 800V high-voltage system and battery, “PPE.” The first-in-line Audi Q6 e-tron gets to push the envelope of EV performance, while setting new benchmarks for battery efficiencies and environmental responsibility through its reduced reliance on cobalt. The new Q6 e-tron is an important, competitive EV in the mid-size EV category.



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IMAGES: AUDI

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AUTHOR: 

CORY HEWETT

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