Advances in technology provide educational benefit
In October of 2009 Audi undertook a study to evaluate a flexible, modular, scalable approach to the electric vehicle (EV) that could be used as a pure electric car or a plug-in hybrid. The goal was also to evaluate its suitability for various modular vehicle platforms including sports cars, sedans and city cars. Three years later, this study has come to a close. The results have been promising enough to generate follow-up projects focusing on specific technologies.
Unique attributes of the study included a collaboration of automotive industry engineers and university students from multiple institutions. The study produced 70 theses, 50 of which were doctoral, suggesting the significant future contribution to the furtherance of the growing EV knowledge base.
The study progressed from simulations through the construction of sub-modules to the ultimate completion of a driveable car. The result, in this instance, is the e sport model (shown above) of the modular system platform. This particular platform uses three electric motors – one driving the front wheels at low speeds, with two additional electric motors coming online for operating the vehicle at higher speeds. Audi’s focus seems to have been on acceleration responsiveness as total torque exceeded 400 lbs-ft with just over 200 total horsepower available. This horsepower should easily propel the F12 down the road at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour while providing exhilarating acceleration to get there, so we would have to agree with Audi’s approach. In our view, vehicle responsiveness trumps raw speed every time.
This collaborative, transparent developmental approach is novel in the automotive industry. This constructive approach broadens the engineering infrastructure in a nascent aspect of the automotive business that can only improve from here. Our hope is that those who have benefited find homes with those manufacturers that are looking to move this technology forward.