Audi announced a new software update that is going to increase the range of older e-tron electric SUVs by boosting efficiency.
Several legacy automakers venturing into electric vehicles ended up having big battery “buffers” on their first electric vehicles.
A battery buffer is the difference between the net energy capacity of the battery and its usable capacity.
They were worried about battery safety and degradation, but many were overly cautious and ended up hurting their vehicle’s efficiency by having it carry a battery pack with a big part it can’t use.
Audi was one of them, and it’s starting to release more energy capacity in those batteries.
Today, the German automaker announced that it’s making the software update available to 2019 and 2020 model year Audi e-tron:
Owners of an Audi e-tron from the 2019 or 2020 model years can now travel farther on a single charge – a new software update will extend their car’s range by up to 20 additional kilometers. This means that Audi isn’t limiting efficiency increases to new models, but also boosting the efficiency of cars already on the road.
Audi says that the e-tron 55 can now travel up to 441 km based on the WLTP standard following the update:
At the same time as the premiere of the e-tron Sportback, Audi rolled out a technology update with improved range for its first electric model series at the end of 2019. As a result, the current model year Audi e-tron 55 quattro can travel up to 441 kilometers on a single battery charge (WLTP cycle). In addition to modified hardware, optimized software was the main factor contributing to the range increase.
The automated notes that the longer range is primarily achieved through increasing the usable capacity of the 95 kWh pack to 86 kWh:
Effective immediately, the software features behind this efficiency enhancement are also available for existing vehicles. Among other improvements, the update expands the usable capacity of the high-voltage battery. As a result, the 95 kWh battery in the Audi e-tron 55 quattro delivers more net usable power – 86 kWh capacity therefore translates into increased range. The software update for all Audi e-tron 55 quattro1 production vehicles built between mid-September 2018 (model year 2019) and the end of November 2019 (model year 2020) can now be installed free of charge at Audi service partners.
While this is likely where the bulk of the new range is coming, Audi also says that it has achieved improvements in motor efficiency and thermal management:
In addition to the battery capacity, the new software also optimizes the control of the front electric motor. In normal driving mode, the motor attached to the rear axle is responsible for propulsion. For improved efficiency, the front electric motor is now almost completely disconnected and powered off – and only when more power is needed do both motors come into play. This makes it possible to even more effectively exploit the major advantage of the asynchronous motor concept, i.e., currentless operation without electrical drag losses.
Furthermore, the update also improves cooling. The highly flexible thermal management system, which consists of four separate circuits, regulates the temperature of the high-voltage components even more efficiently. Modifying the control system made it possible to reduce the volume flow rates in the coolant circuit, thus reducing energy consumption. The cooling system is the basis for fast DC charging, long battery life, and consistent driving performance, even under high loads.
The update is now available to owners and it can only be installed at Audi service centers and not through an over-the-air software update.