- audi’s e-tron sportback and 2021 e-tron suv use improved thermal management of the battery, but audi's not making any claim about increased charging speed.
- the automaker updated the hardware and software of its battery thermal system from that found in the 2019 e-tron and is claiming a 10 percent improvement to overall efficiency.
- audi says the new system will help keep the battery at an optimal temperature while the vehicle is connected to a dc fast-charging station.
as electric vehicles continue slowly gain acceptance in the market, range is still something that weighs heavily on the minds of potential buyers. but there's something else that they should concern themselves with, and that's how quickly their potential ev will recharge. audi has been thinking about it since it launched the e-tron suv and has just announced some hardware and software changes to its ev lineup.
via a more robust thermal management system, the automaker says it's able to sustain the maximum 150-kw dc fast-charging capacity of the 2020 e-tron sportback and 2021 e-tron during a longer portion of the charging procedure. before owners of the 2019 e-tron get too upset, audi admitted to car and driver that the 2021 e-tron will charge a little more quickly, but overall the time difference is negligible.
still, the company notes that it's moving quickly to make these types of tweaks to its ev plans so that in the long run, future vehicles will be more efficient and of course charge quicker. for example, audi said that overall, because of tweaks here and there, the 2021 e-tron should be 10 percent more efficient than the 2019 model. it'll be up to epa testing to determine if that goal was reached.
as for the new thermal management tech, the company updated the liquid-cooled slated frame that runs perpendicular to the vehicle and is directly under the battery modules. they're each attached to the modules with a new thermally conductive heating adhesive gel. that gel evenly transfers the heat from the modules to the cooling system, audi says that it can keep the temperature of the battery in the optimal range of 77 to 95 degrees fahrenheit.
a cooler battery while charging can accept its maximum charging capacity (in this case 150 kw) for longer amount of time. typically when a vehicle plugs into a charging station it ramps up to its highest charging capacity but can slowly lose the ability to maintain that rate due to the heat generated by the process. audi says that its system creates more of a plateau, with the dropoff being far more gradual than others.
with this system, audi says that its 2020 e-tron sportback and upcoming 2021 e-tron suv, with their 95.0-kwh packs—when attached to a dc fast-charge station with an output of 150 kw—can be recharged from 5 to 100 percent in 45 minutes. it'll hit 80 percent in about 30 minutes. if those numbers look familiar, it's because those are essentially the same specs we saw for the 2019 e-tron.
but even without a charge-speed boost, the updated technology shows that audi is moving quickly to fine-tune its evs. the tech should have been on the 2020 e-tron suv, but delays in production due to the coronavirus pandemic pushed the vehicle's model year to 2021. it's good news for the progression of ev technology, even if right now it's not going to give you less time at a charging station.