Here’s a Look at Audi e-Tron’s Big New Battery

Long range and fast charging are the keys to enabling the e-Tron to compete in the growing electric crossover segment.
  • Audi’s new e-Tron crossover utility vehicle is one of the most highly anticipated introductions in the electric market, largely due to its emphasis on battery technology.

    The e-Tron, Audi’s first-ever all-electric, asks a lot of its battery. Because the e-Tron is a rather large luxury vehicle, it needs a big battery with lots of range and power, as well as speedy recharge.

    “We have three main goals for the battery: long range, safety, and a 150-kW charging function,” Benedikt Still of Audi told Design News last week. “And we were able to do the fast charging because of the sophisticated thermal management system we created to cool the battery down.”

    Indeed, Audi is the first to offer 150-kW charging. That number gives it a faster charge rate than the Tesla Supercharger (135 kW) and the newly announced Jaguar i-Pace (100 kW), enabling it to reach 80% charge in as little as 30 minutes at a commercial station.

    The e-Tron’s battery is significant for the electric car community because it addresses the looming issue of charge time. With batteries growing bigger, charge time is becoming more important for electric car manufacturers.

    Here, we offer a peek at the e-Tron’s new battery. To see its innovations in charging, cooling, and safety, flip through the following slides. (Image source: Audi AG)

  • Audi’s e-Tron electric crossover, slated to reach production at the end of 2018, is the first of 20 new electric cars and plug-in hybrids that the German automaker plans to launch by 2025. Its most significant feature is its battery.

    The lithium-ion battery, Audi says, has “roughly the contours of a double bed.” Measuring 7.5’ x 5.3’ x 1.1’, the battery is located beneath the car’s occupant cell and between its axles. It provides the e-Tron with a long driving range—248.5 miles on the so-called WLTP driving cycle (EPA rating unknown). At commercial charging stations, a 150-kW charger “refills” it to 80% capacity in 30 minutes. At home, a 230 V charge system offers an 8.5-hour recharge at 11 kW or a 4.5-hour recharge at 22 kW. (Image source: Audi AG)

  • The e-Tron’s 95-kWh battery is huge, weighing in at about 1,543 lbs. It consists of 36 aluminum-housed modules—each roughly the size of a shoebox. Each module, in turn, contains 12 flexible, pouch-type cells, for a grand total of 423 lithium-ion cells in all. (Image source: Audi AG)

  • Key parts of the battery are a housing pan with an aluminum crash structure, a circumferential frame, cooling system, cell modules, and a solid aluminum plate that protects the battery from damage from below. The battery’s housing is connected to the car’s body by 35 bolts that provide it with shear- and torque-rigidity. (Image source: Audi AG)

  • Each of the battery’s shoebox-sized modules is protected by a rectangular aluminum housing. The modules contain 12 pouch cells with a flexible outer skin of aluminum-coated polymer. Pouches are tightly packed in order to maximum the use of space. In the future, Audi says, it will use a mixture of pouch-type and prismatic cells. (Image source: Audi AG)

  • Audi says the battery’s cooling system is the key to e-Tron’s quick charging capability. Using intelligent thermal management, it keeps the battery’s temperature between 77°F and 95°F, even while charging at 150 kW. The cooling system itself is attached to the outside of the battery housing beneath the cell chamber. It is made of flat, aluminum sections divided into tiny chambers known as micro-ports. A thermally conductive adhesive joins the cooling unit to the battery housing. (Image source: Audi AG)

  • To promote safety, Audi engineers endowed the battery with an ultra-strong crash protection system. A framework structure made up of extruded aluminum sections divides the interior of the battery housing so that each module is in its own compartment. A solid aluminum plate protects the battery against damage by stone chips or curbs from below. (Image source: Audi AG)

  • Fast charging is e-Tron’s claim to fame. Despite its 95-kWh capacity, the battery can be charged through a 150-kW DC fast charger in as little as 30 minutes at commercial stations. Home charging can be accomplished in 8.5 hours from a 230 V AC household outlet. By employing a second, on-board charger with the 230 V line, charge time can be reduced to 4.5 hours. The second on-board charger will be available as an option in 2019. (Image source: Audi AG)

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Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 34 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and auto.  

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