Replacing a V-6 turbo diesel with more batteries

The high-tech slab of open-wheel speed machine you see before you is the Audi E-Tron FE04, the Four Ring brand’s very first all electric race car. The FE04 just made its big debut in Neuburg, Germany, and will be used in Audi’s re-doubled efforts in the all-electric Formula E race series. That makes Audi the first German brand to enter the Formula E fray with a full factory-backed effort. Audi says the FE04 will be used as a test bed for new and upcoming technology that will eventually trickle down to its production vehicles, raising hopes that battery motivation alone will be enough to whet the appetites of future Audi performance enthusiasts.

“Following quattro, TFSI, TDI, hybrid drive and many other innovations, our single-seater race car is a portent of our product offensive in the field of electric mobility that we are ringing in with the Audi e-tron in 2018,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development at Audi AG. The brand says it’s planning on offering as many as 20 new battery-assisted models, including both hybrids and all-electric models, by the year 2025. While the FE04 will use a spec chassis, per regulations, the FE04 is still an opportunity for Audi to develop it’s know-how with a new electric motor, transmission, and some suspension bits, as well as the software needed to run it all. Look for the FE04 to make its competition debut in Hong Kong this coming December, with pre-season testing taking place in Spain.

Continue reading for the full story.

Any Other Technical Bits?

Audi Steps Up To Formula E With E-Tron FE04 High Resolution Exterior
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Audi didn’t mention too much in terms of specifications and details, but we do know it’s developing a brand-new powertrain and drivetrain to take on the competition. The transmission will be a single-gear unit, while the housing for the powertrain will be all carbon fiber.

The FE04 is Audi’s first full-fledged factory effort, and thus, it represents a renewal and deepening of that previously mentioned relationship.

Audi is partnering with the German-based Schaeffler Group when it comes to the technology development front. Although Audi and Schaeffler have enjoyed a working relationship over the course of past Formula E seasons, the FE04 is Audi’s first full-fledged factory effort, and thus, it represents a renewal and deepening of that previously mentioned relationship.

Why Formula E?

Audi Steps Up To Formula E With E-Tron FE04 High Resolution Exterior
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The all-electric series is pretty much the most natural place for Audi to go right now. Following the disastrous Dieselgate scandal and Audi’s subsequent withdrawal from Le Mans, the “cleaner” Formula E series makes the most sense. Throw in the fact Germany is mulling an outright ban on the internal combustion engine, and battery-powered racers are just about the only option for competition-driven tech development.

The FE04 is Audi’s first open-wheel single-seater

Motorsports fans will be quick to remember Audi as the team to beat at Le Mans, with racers like the R18 absolutely dominating year after year. And while it’s a shame to see the brand pull out over a scandal, it’s an interesting development to throw all that go-faster know-how at a completely new sport. After all, the FE04 is Audi’s first open-wheel single-seater, and although Audi’s hybrid tech offers a little bit of guidance, there’s still quite a bit of catching up to do.

Who Will Drive And Who Will Lead?

Audi Steps Up To Formula E With E-Tron FE04 High Resolution Exterior
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Luckily, Audi is tapping some pretty big names to help along the way. Taking the wheel of the FE04 will be Lucas di Grassi, winner of the championship title this year and pilot of the number 1 vehicle. His teammate will be Daniel Abt, who will race the number 66 car. Both will use black, green, and white livery, with Abt’s 66 car getting additional red marks to help fans figure out who’s who. This will be the fourth season for both drivers. The team principle will be Allan McNish, former Formula 1 star, long-time Audi factory driver, and three-time Le Mans winner.

With a roster like that, Audi certainly has decent odds for success. Whether it’ll pan out with a win remains to be seen.

References

Audi R18

2016 Audi R18 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the Audi R18.

Audi e-tron quattro concept

2015 Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Audi e-tron quattro concept.

Meet "Robocar" - The First Concept Car For The Upcoming Roborace Series
- image 671258

Read more Formula E news.

Press release

Audi presented the Group’s first all-electric race car in Neuburg on Wednesday night. The Audi e-tron FE04 mirrors the company’s transformation from a classic automobile manufacturer to a forward-thinking mobility provider on the race track.

“After nearly 40 years of being successfully active in motorsport on the highest level, Audi now becomes the first German automobile manufacturer to compete in Formula E in order to test and advance the development of new technologies for production,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG. “Following quattro, TFSI, TDI, hybrid drive and many other innovations, our first single-seater race car is a portent of our product offensive in the field of electric mobility that we are ringing in with the Audi e-tron in 2018.” At the IAA, Audi announced having more than 20 electrified models in its range even before 2025 including Plug-in-hybrids and fully electric cars.

In Formula E, the teams and manufacturers are allowed to develop the powertrain consisting of the motor, transmission, parts of the suspension and the respective software. The combination of the motor and transmission is the centerpiece of the Audi e-tron FE04. The engineers primarily focus on designing the motor-generator unit for ever greater efficiency. To transmit the power to the wheels, Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler will be using a high-efficiency transmission with only one gear in the 2017/2018 season.

“Together with our technology partner Schaeffler, we have developed a completely new powertrain,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “You can immediately tell this by looking at the new carbon housing of the powertrain. The car also sounds different because we’re pursuing new avenues in technology.”

A progressive new livery featuring white, metallic green and black as the basic colors visually distinguishes the Audi e-tron FE04 at first glance clearly from the car in which Lucas di Grassi won the Formula E championship title in July. For the first time in his career, the 33-year-old Brazilian is entering a new season in car number “1” of the title defender and on the occasion of the world premiere in Neuburg he did not let the opportunity pass by of driving the softly whirring new electric race car onto the stage.

Lucas di Grassi’s teammate is youngster Daniel Abt (24). The driver from the Allgäu has been signed as an Audi factory driver. Daniel Abt will be driving car number “66” with additional red color markings intended to make it easier for spectators to distinguish the cars of the two Audi campaigners from each other.

From day one, Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt have been forming a strong driver duo in Formula E, which in the 33 races held to date has achieved 24 podiums, six victories and four pole positions. Both are tackling their fourth Formula E season.

The new team principal and, as such, the face of Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in Formula E is Allan McNish. The Scotsman had already accompanied and supported the team at the race tracks throughout the third season. Now the former Formula 1 campaigner, long-standing Audi factory driver and three-time Le Mans winner is also officially leading and representing the squad.

The Audi e-tron FE04 will make its racing debut at the Formula E season opener in Hong Kong on December 2, 2017. However, the new electric race car will already be seen on the race track in the coming days. This Friday and Saturday, Audi is presenting the FE04 with Daniel Abt at the wheel during the E-Mobility Play Days at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Subsequently, from Monday to Thursday, Valencia, Spain, will be the venue of the only official Formula E pre-season tests. Both Audi drivers will be testing there.

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