Aerodynamic engineering was at a premium for Audis e-tron; baby wing mirrors will reduce drag considerably

Aerodynamic engineering was at a premium for Audi's e-tron; 'baby wing mirrors' will reduce drag considerably

Audi says that optional virtual exterior mirrors will be making their world premiere in the series production version of the Audi e-tron prototype. They are much narrower than the standard mirrors, reducing the vehicle width by 15cm and, thanks to their new shape, reduce wind drag and noise.

 Each of their flat supports integrates a small camera. The captured images appear on OLED displays in the transition between the instrument panel and door. The virtual exterior mirrors can be adapted for various driving situations, thus potentially improving safety, Audi says. Three views are available in the MMI system – for motorway driving, turning and parking.

Audi says the fully electric prototype Audi SUV achieves a Cd of 0.28 through a range of highly sophisticated aerodynamic elements. Besides virtual exterior mirrors, adaptive air suspension is standard, there are aerodynamically optimised wheels, an enclosed underbody and a controllable air inlet.

The Audi e-tron prototype has already recorded more than 1,000 hours on the test rig in the Ingolstadt-based Audi Wind Tunnel Centre. Engineers have been harnessing the 186mph wind speed capability of its 2.6-megawatt fan to perfect the car's efficiency and comfort in readiness for the series production model.

Audi says the drag coefficient of 0.28 is a top achievement in the SUV segment and a 'decisive factor in the everyday range of more than 248 miles in the WLTP cycle'. A hundredth of the drag coefficient figure represents a range of around 3 miles under everyday conditions, Audi maintains.

The adaptive air suspension – a pneumatic suspension with adjustable damping - lowers the body by up to 26mm below the normal position at speeds over 74mph, thus reducing the drag. The underbody of the all-electric SUV is also fully enclosed; the front and rear area are fully panelled. Underneath the passenger cell, an aluminium plate protects the high-voltage battery against damage from below, such as stone chipping or kerbs. Its bolting points come with bowl-shaped indentations, similar to the dimples on a golf ball. They make the air flow much better than a totally flat surface, Audi claims.

As the brand's first fully electric volume model, the Audi e-tron SUV will have its world premiere at the 'Audi Summit' in Brussels on August 30. Audi said that with the 'rapid expansion of the portfolio of fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids in each model range, the company aims to sell approximately 800,000 electrified automobiles per annum by 2025'.