Audi Planning To Upgrade Vehicle Electric System To 48 Volts
Audi has announced it will be adopting a 48-volt electrical system in its vehicles starting in the near future. The new high-power electrical system is said to give engineers the ability to make sportier, more efficient, and more convenient cars.
“We are using the full bandwidth of electrification in our drive principles strategy,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenbert, a Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at Audi. “Running part of the vehicle electrical system at 48 volts plays a central role in this. It enables us to make more energy available.”
We’ve already seen two examples of Audi vehicles with the 48-volt system; the RS5 TDI and A6 TDI concepts. Both cars are fitted with an electrically powered compressor that gives extra boost to the engine, helping eliminate turbo lag. The compressor is a separate system than the engine, so there is no parasitic loss.
Boosting power won’t be the only benefit. Audi says the upgraded electrical system will help boost advancements in dynamic chassis control systems.
The 48-volt system will even work while the main engine is powered off. A small bank of lithium-ion batteries will supply the juice. A DC/DC converter then integrates the standard, 12-volt electrical system. What’s more, the battery pack also works in conjunction with a new efficiency-optimized alternator, basically turning the vehicle into a mild hybrid system.
Audi says the new system can save owners 0.4 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, or roughly 0.105 gallons over 62 miles.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi RS5 TDI Concept
Why It Matters
Cars have been running on the 12-volt system since the 1950s and not much has changed. Introducing a new voltage into the automotive industry may help with developing better subsystems within vehicles such as infotainment, safety, and comfort accessories – or so says Audi. Only time will tell if this switch is permanent or just a passing fad.