Audi presents fully electric luxury-class Sportback concept car- Audi A6 e-tron complete with a new technology platform, the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) expected to begin in 2022, it will also be fast charging with 270 kW and an anticipated range of more than 700 km.
Photos by AUDI
Audi is resolutely pushing ahead with its “e-volution” towards electric mobility and will be unveiling the forerunner of an innovative family of fully electric, production cars – the four-door Audi A6 e-tron concept – at the Auto Shanghai 2021 show. A completely new technology architecture, the “Premium Platform Electric,” or PPE for short, will serve as the technology platform for these vehicles in the future. Expected to begin in late 2022, the first production cars in the C- and later also B-segment will be relaunched with PPE technology, including – a first in the market for electric vehicles – both SUVs with a high ground clearance and dynamically styled models with a lower ride height, such as the upcoming Audi A6 e-tron.
Sporting the Audi A6 emblem, the concept car underscores its place in the brand’s luxury-class model series. This model has represented the brand in one of the world’s highest-volume segments since 1968 – initially, and until 1994, as the Audi 100. First the Sedan, Avant, and allroad, then later the Sportback – which was introduced as the A7 – rounded out the model family. An electrified drive system already has a long tradition in the Audi A6 – after a full hybrid version that was released back in 2011, the current Audi A6 TFSI e made its debut in 2019 with a plug-in hybrid drive and an electric range of up to 91 kilometers (WLTP).
Unlike the latter, however, the Audi A6 e-tron concept being exhibited at the Auto Shanghai 2021 show relies exclusively on electric power, based on the future PPE platform developed under Audi’s leadership. At the same time, it also represents an entirely new design concept – the only thing it has in common with the current A6 are its dimensions. The 4.96-meter-long, 1.96-meter-wide, and 1.44-meter-high body is designed as a Sportback, and its lines are an obvious reflection of the systematic advancement of Audi’s current design language.
The Audi A6 e-tron concept exterior model making its debut in Shanghai is far more than just a simple design exercise – its body is a foretaste of Audi’s future production models and provides clear indications of just how dynamic and elegant the electric-powered luxury class from the brand with the four rings will look.
For its part, the PPE technology will ensure that what the car’s lines imply is actually translated into dynamic driving performance and everyday suitability befitting use as a primary vehicle. Specifically, this means that depending on the selected drive system and model version, an Audi A6 e-tron is expected to boast a range of more than 700 kilometers (based on the WLTP standard) in the future – and the most powerful member of the family are anticipated to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in less than four seconds.
Fast charging, high range
The heart of the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s drive technology – and that of all future PPE models – is the 800-volt charging technology. Like the Audi e-tron GT before it, this ensures that the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s battery can be charged with up to 270 kW in a very short time at public DC fast-charging stations. This revolutionary technology will enter the high-volume mid-range and luxury segments with the PPE for the very first time.
This technology makes charging times possible that come close to a stop to refuel a car powered by a conventional engine. Just 10 minutes at a public DC fast charger are enough to charge the battery to a level sufficient to power the car more than 300 kilometers. And in less than 25 minutes at a public DC fast charger, you can charge the Audi A6 e-tron concept’s 100 kWh battery from 5 to 80 percent.
Together with an expected range of more than 700 kilometers – depending on the selected drive system and power output – the Audi A6 e-tron concept is uncompromisingly suitable for use as a primary vehicle. Furthermore, its range and charging speed keep pace with those of combustion engines, making it the perfect universal car for everyday needs, from short trips to the store to longer road trips when going on vacation.
In terms of dynamic qualities, the Audi A6 e-tron concept – as is typical for an electric car – truly outshines its rivals with combustion engines. Thanks to its high torque available right from the first revolution, even entry-level models designed for efficiency are expected to accelerate to 100 km/h in less than seven seconds. And in the top-of-the-line, high-performance models, this sprint can even be reduced to well under four seconds.
PPE – Versatile, variable, electric
2018 saw the debut of Audi's first fully electric production vehicle – the Audi e-tron. Since then, in less than three years, the brand has systematically and rapidly pushed ahead with the widespread introduction of electric mobility across its entire product range. Following the Audi
e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback, the highly dynamic e-tron GT – based on a new technology platform developed jointly with Porsche AG – made its debut in February 2021. And just two months later, the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron premiered – two extremely unique SUVs in the A-segment with a common technological platform, the Volkswagen Group’s MEB. The Audi Q2 L e-tron, which is also all-electric, has also been available exclusively in the Chinese market since 2019.
The Audi A6 e-tron concept is now the first member of a family of vehicles – initially in the C-segment and later also in the B- and D-segments – that is based on another innovative technology platform: the Premium Platform Electric, or PPE for short. This modular system is being developed under Audi’s leadership together with Porsche AG. The first Audi production vehicles built on the PPE platform are expected to be successively unveiled starting in the second half of 2022.
PPE vehicles are specifically designed to be offered globally, and will be rolled out in all of the brand’s key markets. Audi plans to manufacture the vehicles both at its European sites and in China, the company’s largest single market. A new production facility is being built in Changchun specifically for this purpose, where Audi’s electric cars with PPE technology will start rolling off the line by the middle of the decade. The facility is operated jointly by Audi and its joint venture partner FAW-Volkswagen.
PPE is the first Audi platform designed to accommodate an unprecedented range of high-volume automobiles – including SUVs and CUVs with a high ground clearance as well as cars with a low ride height that are part of Audi’s core product range, such as the Audi A6 series. But there are also plans to expand the PPE range into the B-segment, which has been the highest-volume market segment for Audi for decades. And even when it comes to the top-of-the-line D-segment, the PPE is an excellent technological platform to build on.
With the PPE, electric vehicles will now also be attractive to customers who prefer automobile concepts beyond the SUV segment – like a Sportback, for example, which is characteristic of the brand and which the Audi A6 e-tron concept translates into a cutting-edge model.
As a result, Audi can effectively expand the range of electric vehicles in its portfolio – via the high-volume B- and C-segments. In addition, economies of scale will allow luxury-class technology and various different model versions to be incorporated into a wide-ranging lineup of models that is unrivaled in the premium market.
In addition, fleet consumption and the company’s global goal of reducing CO2 emissions also benefit. In a nutshell, the PPE will ensure that the company’s rapid transformation toward electric mobility via volume and variety will become yet another Audi success story.