Say goodbye to the internal combustion engine and use a zero-emission Audi e-tron every day, even in the coldest months of the year. This is the choice of a Norwegian family, who tell how the all-electric car performs on snow and ice.
The sub-zero temperatures of the Nordic winter may not seem like ideal conditions for an electric car. But the reality is quite different, as confirmed by a Norwegian family that has been using an Audi e-tron since 2019 and by the explanations provided by Audi engineers.
Driving electrically on snow and ice
Space for five people, a large load capacity, an electric motor and above all a high level of traction on snowy and icy surfaces. These were the requirements of the Lunde family, owners since spring 2019 of an Audi e-tron 55.
"We wanted to switch to an electric car but for a long time we couldn't find zero-emission models able to meet our needs", explains 36-year-old Liselotte Lunde, a mother of three looking for a car that combined high safety, space on board and electric mobility. After a thorough search, they found the e-tron to be the perfect model for their needs, starting with the necessity to reach impervious places.
Safety in every situation
Getting to the family cabin without having to stop because of slippery asphalt and the steep climbs - this was one of the challenges facing the new electric car from the Lunde family, which passed successfully thanks to the Audi e-tron's quattro all-wheel drive system. "Regardless of the weather conditions, we are never worried about not reaching our destination. This allows us to travel safely with our three children in the back seat".
In addition to the traction on low-grip surfaces, the Lunde family was also surprised by the technological equipment of the Audi e-tron. When switching from a conventional car to an electric car in 2019, the main difference they found was the technological leap: "Our car has front lights with LED Matrix technology, which are absolutely superb in the Norwegian winter darkness. We also have a night vision assistant, which is a great help in warning us if a moose is in front of us or on the roadside. We can remotely set the car's climate control, for example from inside the house, using the app. It's not a normal car, but rather a car that offers services to improve our everyday life," explains Liselotte Lunde. There is also the possibility of changing the height of the car, thanks to the air suspension.
In 2019, the range of the e-tron from the Lunde family was 417 kilometres. In 2021 it increased to 436 kilometres, thanks to an update to the car's software. "We have never had any difficulties related to the car's range. We can recharge both at home and in the cabin, so we can leave every morning with full energy. Normally the battery is at 80% charge, which means we can always travel without worrying. In addition, we have the advantage of getting into a car that is already warm and has no ice on the glass, which is ideal if you have to get into the car early in the morning with a baby.”
Intelligent thermal control
How is such efficient heat management possible? The explanation comes directly from Pierre Woltmann, responsible for the development of the thermal control of the high-voltage battery in the e-tron at Audi: "The car driven by the Lunde family has four heat circuits. A heat pump draws surplus energy from both the propulsion components and the environment, so that both the passenger compartment and the battery are heated efficiently. It is up to three times more efficient than using a conventional heater with electric heating elements".
The importance of the right temperature
"When the car is pre-heated using the Wallbox, a significant range gain can be achieved, especially when travelling short distances. Otherwise, more energy would be consumed in heating the interior than in moving the car," recalls Woltmann. It is precisely for this reason that the Audi e-tron is supplied in the Nordic countries with increased capacity for heating the battery, a solution that is also available in the winter package in other European countries.
Tips for improving autonomy
The Lunde family has learned several tricks to improve on-board comfort without affecting range: "If we haven't had time to pre-heat the car remotely, we use the heating in the steering wheel and seats", Lunde explains. Heating the contact surfaces requires much less energy than heating the entire passenger compartment.
Always driving with active navigation
Another tip the Lunde family took up was to always use the navigation system for slightly longer journeys. "We always drive with active navigation all the way to our cabin, even though we obviously know the way by heart," says Lunde. "Without the navigation set up with a destination, the system bases its estimate of the range on the last 100 kilometres driven. With the destination target activated, on the other hand, the e-tron route planner has access to current information on the road ahead and will be able to indicate the remaining range once we reach our destination. If necessary, the system will also recommend a stop for recharging and include the recharging time in the arrival time estimate," explains Woltmann.
The advantages of fast charging
The Lunde family uses fast charging very occasionally, as they are able to connect the car to their home every evening. On longer journeys, however, they sometimes have to do a "quick refill", which allows them to appreciate the technical qualities of the car: "The maximum charging power of 150 kW makes the charging stops short. But perhaps the most important thing is the high energy absorption for a large part of the process," says Lunde. "Even with fast charging (DC), the Audi e-tron uses intelligent thermal control of the battery. This means that the high charging power can be used for a longer period of time", comments Woltmann.
No way back
"The most important learning from our transition to an electric car is how easy it is to use in everyday life. Plugging in the charging cable when we park in the evening and using the 'myAudi' app to set the 'refuelling' start times have become automatic tasks," says Lunde.
In addition, "We have discovered the great technological leap that Audi has made, which has helped us to drive over 30,000 kilometres safely and easily. Our 55 e-tron has really convinced us that electric cars do work, even in the harsh Norwegian winter. This is the future and we will never choose anything else but an all-electric car".
Source: AUDI AG
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