Audi e-tron's Virtual Exterior Mirrors Confirmed
Standard adaptive air suspension
Audi is slowly releasing more details on the e-tron SUV ahead of its reveal later this year. Now we know the model will eschew conventional side mirrors for virtual mirrors, one of the many features on the vehicle designed to reduce drag and improve aerodynamics.
The virtual side mirrors will come optional on the e-tron, and Audi says this is the first time this feature will be offered on a series production vehicle. They are narrower than standard mirrors, reducing the vehicle's width by 15 cm, and Audi says they are shaped to reduce drag and wind noise.
The mirrors integrate a small camera that helps capture images that appear on OLED displays in the transition between the instrument panel and door. Drivers can see three types of views: highway driving, turning, and parking.
To further improve aerodynamics, the e-tron has a standard adaptive air suspension. With this suspension, the e-tron lowers its body an inch when traveling at speeds above 74 mph, cutting down on drag. There is also a controllable cool-air inlet with two electronically controlled vents. They are released when the drivetrain components need cooling or the AC condenser requires ventilation, with the top one opening first.
When the hydraulic wheel brakes are working hard, the controllable cool-air inlet releases two ducts that send cooling air into the front wheel arches to the brakes. The underbody is also fully enclosed to boost aerodynamics.
The e-tron will don standard 19-inch wheels with a flatter-than-normal design optimized for aerodynamics. Wrapped around these wheels are ultralow rolling resistance 255/55 tires. Thanks to all the aerodynamic enhancements, the Audi e-tron is able to achieve a drag coefficient of 0.28.
Of course, aerodynamics plays an important role when it comes to range. As we reported earlier, the e-tron will be able to travel more than 248 miles on a single charge based on the new WLTP driving cycle. Charging takes less than 30 minutes at stations with up to 150 kilowatts. Audi says the e-tron will be the first vehicle on the market capable of charging at these stations. The floor-mounted battery can store an impressive 95 kilowatt-hours of energy.
Audi will build the e-tron SUV, in addition to the e-tron Sportback in Brussels, Belgium. The e-tron is expected to go on sale in Europe at the end of this year.