Audi has updated the 2021 e-tron electric SUV with a new 22 kW onboard charger and also a new steering wheel. It already had level 2 charging capability with its 11 kW charger but now it gets a dual charger. “Fast charging with direct current (DC) has always been a major strength of the e-tron models. Now Audi is also enabling faster charging with alternating current (AC). Effective immediately, e-tron 55 and e-tron Sportback 55 customers can order a second onboard charger that doubles the power from 11 kW to as much as 22 kW at appropriate charging terminals,” said Audi in a statement.
The new e-tron 50 and e-tron S models will also get this new option come mid-2021 when the cars go on sale. This is not too different from the dual charger option on the Model S and Model X models that Tesla offered, but it has discontinued this feature. The problem with level 2 22 kW charging is that the charging stations that support this technology are quite rare. This is an option for people who don't have DC charging as an option.
The e-tron SUV has an intelligent charging feature which further enhances its capabilities. “In conjunction with a compatible home energy management system from SMA Solar Technology or the Hager Group, the e-tron charging system connect offers additional, intelligent functions. For example, the Audi e-tron can take account of the needs of other consumers in the household and charge with the remaining power available in order to avoid overloading the home electrical system. The charging system also allows customers to define individual priorities, such as charging when electricity is less expensive under a variable electricity rate. If the home is equipped with a photovoltaic system, the car can be charged preferentially using the electricity generated by the system. Charging planning then considers forecast periods of sunshine. Additional features of the e-tron charging system connect include PIN protection against unauthorised use and the recording of charging energy,” revealed Audi.
The new steering wheel system adds sensors which are more sensitive to touch and therefore it is better detects hands for the driver-assist system.
“The updated steering wheels make driving even more convenient. The driver only has to lightly touch the touch-sensitive rim once per minute with his or her hand to ensure that the lateral guidance of the adaptive cruise assist remains active. The driver remains fully responsible for steering the vehicle, however. The high-end system, which uses data from the central driver assistance controller (zFAS), can keep the Audi e-tron centred in the lane. It also manages longitudinal guidance across the entire speed range. It supports the driver with accelerating, braking, maintaining speed, keeping distance and in traffic jam situations,” Audi elaborates.