Audi is one of the most progressive names in plug-in market right now.
It may currently only have two plug-in hybrids in its vast range, but the A3 Sportback e-tron is one of the most practical and stylish cars of its ilk out there right now. Meanwhile, the plug-in Q7 e-tron proved early on that electric motors could be introduced anywhere.
Now, Audi has strengthened its reputation for pushing electric car technology further – after its e-tron FE04 impressed during Formula E pre-season testing in Valencia.
How impressive, you ask? Well, the first all-electric Audi race car completed the largest number of test kilometers of all ten teams from Monday to Thursday on the three-kilometer Circuit Ricardo Tomo. It racked up 1,466km over 464 laps with complete reliability, while lap times were promising too.
To put some of that into context, those 1,466km clocked by the FE04 were equal to the entire race distance of a whole Formula E Season. Oh, and it did all this in blistering Spanish high-season heat where it was 30 degrees centigrade in the shade.
Audi’s battery-powered racer was piloted by new factory driver Daniel Abt from Germany and reigning Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi of Brazil. Team principal Allan McNish, who assessed the tests, had positive words for both drivers.
“Daniel and Lucas felt comfortable in the car right from the beginning and confirmed to me that we’ve done good development work and made a big step forwards with the new powertrain,” he commented.
Mr McNish added that the Valencia test was primarily to assess where Audi stood amongst the competition, but he felt happy with the test despite a lot of work still to do ahead of the opening E-Prix in Hong Kong on December 2nd-3rd.
“The Audi e-tron FE04 is reliable and fast,” he went on to say. “Now we need to continue to optimise energy management and the software on the test bench and in the simulator.”
Formula E Champion di Grassi agreed, saying: “I believe that our new car is very competitive. Audi, ABT and Schaeffler have done a good job. The top times were very close together. I’m expecting a thrilling season.”
Testing is now prohibited until the season opens in Hong Kong. The four Audi e-tron FE04 test cars will be completely dismantled and reassembled at the team’s base in Kempten, before being flown from England to Hong Kong in mid-November.