Audi in Formula E: Title win in first year

Audi is committed to electric mobility – on the road with the new Audi e-tron and on the race track ever since 2014, as well as with its own factory team in Formula E since 2017. For nearly 40 years, the brand has been active in top-caliber racing in order to test new technologies for production. quattro, TFSI, TDI and hybrid are now followed by e-tron. “In Formula E, we demonstrate Vorsprung durch Technik in e-mobility,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, of AUDI AG.

Audi was the first German automobile manufacturer on the Formula E grid in the 2017/2018 season. With four victories and a total of eleven podium finishes Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler won the teams’ championship after twelve races around the globe. The commitment in the fully electric racing series is the electric pillar of Audi’s motorsport activities. Formula E is currently experiencing a boom as a result of additional manufacturers and partners joining the series.

Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass: “By winning the teams’ championship we proved our expertise in e-mobility right in our first year in Formula E. We intend to build on this success and are ready to pit ourselves against the numerous new competitors.”

The new season marks the beginning of a new era in Formula E: For the first time since the series was started in 2014, only one race car per driver will be fielded. The previously required mid-race car swap will cease because the battery capacity is now sufficient to cover the full 45 minutes: another aspect that proves how motorsport – and particularly Formula E – is a driver of innovations and technologies. With the Audi e-tron FE05 Audi has meticulously prepared for the new technical and strategic challenges.

The Audi e-tron FE04 in the season that just ended was Audi’s first fully electric race car. The brand also showcases the e-tron FE04 at the premiere of its first all-electric production model in San Francisco. While in Formula E’s inaugural season in 2014/2015 identical electric race cars were still used, the teams and manufacturers have been allowed to develop the entire powertrain themselves since the 2015/2016 season. It consists of the motor, transmission, parts of the suspension and the related software. Its centerpiece is the combination of the motor and transmission that Audi and its technology partner Schaeffler have jointly developed. The main emphasis of the engineers is on making the motor-generator unit as efficient as possible and to achieve a high level of energy conversion efficiency.

Like in other professional racing series, in-season technical modifications are no longer allowed. Instead, engineers and drivers are primarily challenged to extract the optimum from the existing package and to perfectly adapt the car to the respective city circuit. The software offers the greatest scope for this purpose. In Formula E, it is central especially in terms of energy management. Here, the development of production cars benefits from the experiences in motorsport as well.

Following a final appearance in San Francisco, the championship-winning race car Audi e-tron FE04 will clear the way for its FE05 successor. With a spectacular design that is unique in motorsport the new model has been causing a sensation even months before the season opens, just like initial ideas for a set of revolutionary regulations for the races. In order to provide the drivers and teams with various strategic options after the elimination of the required pit stop, the officials are discussing so-called activation zones. Although located trackside and therefore involving a small detour, they give the driver an extra power boost for his car. This guarantees suspense.

13 races in twelve metropolises are planned for season five. Between the opener in Riyadh and the two final rounds in New York in mid-July 2019, the series will visit Marrakesh, Santiago de Chile, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sanya, Rome, Paris, Monaco, Berlin and Zurich. Each race will last 45 minutes and not be held on permanent race tracks but on temporary city circuits.

Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is a founding member of Formula E and has been on the grid with Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi ever since the inaugural race. The Brazilian clinched the title in the drivers’ championship in season three (2016/2017).

Audi Denkwerkstatt – Business models of the future

23 Audi employees in a co-working space in Berlin are developing business models that very rarely have anything to do with cars. Eight Audi employees who live in Berlin permanently are supported by 15 other employees visiting in six-month cycles. At the end of the cycle, these employees then return to their original positions and functions at the various company sites. It is the task of the cross-functional teams to implement a verified business model within these six months through customer-focused development and cooperation with start-ups.

The aim of the Denkwerkstatt is to link the company to the start-up and digital scene, to experiment with new methods and, above all, to develop business models and services that will expand or enhance Audi’s vehicle range in the future and that will support the company on its way to becoming a digital car company.

The main focus of the Denkwerkstatt is urban issues that relate to mobility. As well as concepts for the first and last mile, this primarily addresses the issue of how to support electric mobility in an urban environment. For example, the teams work on solutions for flexible and low-cost charging infrastructure and portable energy storage systems using second-life batteries.

ParkE

The ParkE mobile charging station electrifies private parking spaces without great expense and therefore facilitates access to electric mobility, particularly in cities.

With ParkE, the Audi Denkwerkstatt is taking on one of the most significant everyday challenges that electric car drivers face in the city: a lack of charging infrastructure at home. This is most common in underground parking lots. Electrification of a parking space after it has been built is usually very expensive and often cannot get the required consent from the community of owners or is prevented by official regulations. At the same time, car owners are aware that getting an electric car is out of the question if they are not able to charge it at home. After all, 83 percent of electric car owners confirm that their home is their most important charging point.

ParkE offers a solution for this: The charging station on wheels is a compact and mobile storage device so you can simply push the energy to the car. With a capacity of 25 kWh and a charging capacity of at least 22 kW, ParkE can then supply the car with power. ParkE can be charged using any normal household socket (230 V), for example, in the bicycle storage room.

Thanks to the mobility of the charging station, no structural changes need to be made, meaning consent from other parties is not required. Based on current information, ParkE is to be placed on the market with a leasing offer. ParkE makes it easier for potential customers to access electric mobility without a large initial investment.

ParkE originated as an Audi Denkwerkstatt project. Four employees from different departments at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites had six months to develop their idea from a blank sheet of paper to a finished product and a valid business case.

Audi Battery Pack

Noiseless, emission-free and versatile energy in a case—the Audi battery pack. The exchangeable battery concept enables a form of electric mobility with new degrees of freedom.

Portable, standardized energy storage for a wide range of applications in a red case, containing a BEV battery module for the current Audi e-tron. The plan is to use second-hand charging modules with reduced capacity as soon as they are available in sufficient quantities. The battery does not need to be disposed of for a long time because its storage capacity is still sufficient outside of the car.

The Audi battery pack, with a capacity of 2.6 kWh and a weight of 15 kg, can be chiefly utilized in marine, automotive and DIY activities. But it is also conceivable for the battery pack to be used in professional applications, such as in mobile production plants, the trade and building site sector, and as a “starter battery” for electric cars.

But this concept does not end with the battery pack as a single product. The plan is for the case to be standard for batteries and to provide energy for many electrified devices from the mobility sector, for courier services and in building management. In collaboration with a start-up in Berlin, the team wants to offer “Energy as a Service.” This refers to a large network of battery changing stations where you can pick up a charged red case anywhere at any time and swap it for an empty one. Customers can therefore power their individual applications without having to wait long periods for charging, giving them greater flexibility and freedom.

The e-tron as starting signal: Audi launches e-offensive

Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at AUDI AG: “The Audi e-tron is definitely a highlight in the history of our company and the starting signal for our electrification strategy.” A total of four technical platforms and product families are the prerequisite for offering electric vehicles in every segment from A to D. Close collaboration between Technical Development and other Group brands leverages the synergies required for a broad, global range that also offers optimal prospects of financial success.

The Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback use components from Audi’s modular longitudinal platform. This and numerous innovative technologies primarily in the area of drive systems are giving rise to a separate product family of e-SUVs with electric quattro all-wheel drive. Fast charging with up to 150 kW and ample range suitable for long-distance journeys are benchmarks in this class.

Audi will present the first member of another e-platform by the end of 2018: The Audi e-tron GT concept showcar, a highly dynamic coupe with a flat floor assembly, is debuting at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The technology in this automobile was developed in collaboration with Porsche; the design and character of the e-tron GT concept are packed full of unmistakable Audi DNA.

Another joint project of the development departments at Audi and Porsche is the Premium Platform Electric (PPE). It will be the basis for multiple Audi model families with all-electric drive covering the high-volume B through D segments of the market.

Both SUVs and classic body concepts are planned here. A major strength of the PPE is that it was developed exclusively for electric drive. This offers advantages with respect to weight, the package and the proportions of the body.

Several Volkswagen Group brands are collaborating on the development of the modular electrification platform (MEB), which serves as the basis for a series of Audi e-models, particularly in the high-volume A segment. One of these is being developed specifically for the requirements of China, the single most important market.

AUDI AG will also greatly expand its range of plug-in hybrid automobiles. “In the future, virtually every market segment will include models powered by a combination of electric motors and a combustion engine, and that can be charged at an electric outlet,” said Board Member for Technical Development Mertens.

Nine titles for Audi Sport customers in Europe and Asia

Audi R8 LMS GT4

Title successes in toughest European series: Following three titles in America, the Audi R8 LMS GT4 in its maiden season is successful in Europe as well. In its home round at the Nürburgring, Ernst Moser’s Phoenix Racing team with its two junior drivers won the Silver Cup in the GT4 European Series. Dutchman Milan Dontje and Dane Nicolaj Møller Madsen had traveled to the Eifel in third place of the standings. In a turbulent final race with many retirements, the two drivers who were promoted from the Audi Sport TT Cup only needed fifth place to secure the title. The driver pairing celebrated three race wins during the 2018 season. In the Pro-Am classification, another Audi Sport customer was successful with the R8 LMS GT4. Martin Kohlhaas’ Team Racing One with its driver Markus Lungstrass won the driver’s classification and finished the team’s classification in position one as well. 

Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)

Title success in China: In the Chinese Circuit Hero One racing series, Audi Sport customers achieved a perfect finale. Filipe Souza from Team Champ x TA won the TCR classification on the third race weekend at Zhuhai in front of Billy Lo from the Tianshi Racing team. Both drove an Audi RS 3 LMS. Billy Lo’s podium finish also earned him victory in the class championship of the racing series ahead of Filipe Souza.

Two podiums in Portugal: Francisco Carvalho in an Audi RS 3 LMS clinched two podium finishes on the third race weekend of the TCR Portugal. On the Braga circuit in the north of Portugal, he achieved second place in race one and in race two crossed the finish line in third. 

Audi Sport customer racing

Virtual success at the Nürburgring: In the ADAC Sim Racing Expo, the Audi R8 LMS was victorious in a computer game. Pure Racing Team Red won the ADAC Digital GT500, Pure Racing Team Blue achieved third place. MSP Phoenix Racing and Mücke Motorsport Simracing were on the grid as well.

Coming up next week 

21–23/09 Hockenheim (D), rounds 13 and 14, ADAC GT Masters

21–23/09 Hockenheim (D), rounds 13 and 14, ADAC TCR Germany

21–22/09 Mantorp Park (S), rounds 11 and 12, TCR Scandinavia

21–22/09 Mantorp Park (S), rounds 9 and 10, GT Sweden

21–23/09 Ningbo (CN), round 2, China Endurance Championship

22–23/09 Shanghai (CN), rounds 9 and 10, Blancpain GT Series Asia

22–23/09 Monza (I), rounds 11 and 12, TCR Europe

22–23/09 Monza (I), rounds 9 and 10, ASS TCR Swiss Trophy

22–23/09 Monza (I), rounds 11 and 12, International GT Open

22–23/09 Motegi (J), round 5, Super Taikyu Series

22/09 Nürburgring (D), round 7, Endurance Championship Nürburgring

– End –

DTM showdown: Audi intends to create suspense

The 31-year-old German in his second DTM season is the man of the moment. Still placed at a distant 14th of the standings after the first eight races, the Audi driver on the past four DTM weekends scored a total of 126 points – more than any other driver. Following his third victory this season, Rast, before the season’s last four races, is third in the overall standings and the fiercest rival chasing the two Mercedes-Benz drivers Gary Paffett and Paul Di Resta. “That wasn’t to be expected after the first races,” says Rast. “We achieved more than we were able to expect following the difficult start of the season. From now on, we can only win. The deficit to Gary and Paul is still very large. But I’m going to fight as long as the opportunity exists – no matter how small it may be.”

At the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Rast, in 2014, won an ADAC GT Masters race in an Audi R8 LMS. “Nobody had expected that at the time,” the German recalls. Last year, Rast won at Spielberg in the Audi RS 5 DTM as well and, in doing so, took an important step toward the sensational title win in his rookie season.

Audi, with six victories since the DTM’s premiere in 2011, is the most successful brand on the Red Bull Ring. BMW has won four times to date, Mercedes-Benz never. Even so, Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass dampens expectations before the Austrian round: “In terms of track characteristics, the Red Bull Ring most closely resembles the Norisring. And there we struggled quite a bit this year. Still, we’ll try to take the positive momentum from the last races with us to Spielberg and to deliver another top result again. If we could keep the title race open until Hockenheim that would be great for all DTM and Audi fans.”

To achieve this feat, all other five Audi drivers would have to be brought up to the level of the reigning champion. “We’re intensively working on this,” says Audi’s Head of Motorsport. “Most recently, René primarily benefited from the fact that he nails down his qualifying laps like nobody else.”