Frankfurt Motor Show: The concepts revealed

Frankfurt Motor Show: The concepts revealed

Following this luxury-class vehicle intended for highly automated long-distance driving, an emissions-free super sports auto designed for the race track, the Audi PB18 e-tron, made its debut in Pebble Beach in 2018. At this year's Shanghai auto show, Audi showed the AI:ME, an autonomous city vehicle. Which is why there are no big screens onboard for streaming TV series or videoconferencing, instead the cabin is surrounded by broad glass surfaces to provide a clear view of the surroundings. It has been given a new name in time 2019, gaining the shared "AI" prefix to indicate that it, too, is part of the family. Audi says it will have limited self-driving capabilities both off-road and on the street, so you can sit back and take in the scenery.

Finally, with the AI:TRAIL, Audi hopes to open up the potential applications for its visionary vehicles to include off-road terrain.

With the electric drive system arranged around the axles and the battery in the floor, there is no need for overhanging sections or separate attachments for the motor or batteries.

Perhaps the most surprising trait is that the Audi AI:Trail is designed for driving on roads up to level 4, the second-highest level on a standardized global scale for increasing automation.

The new Audi concept features four electric motors, one assigned to each wheel, with a combined output of 429 HP (435 PS) and 737 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque.

Thanks to its 340mm ground clearance, the AI:Trail can ford water up to half-a-metre deep.

Audi AI:TRAIL quattro

Lightweight and maximum body stiffness are, of course, important technical objectives for off-roaders in particular.

The AI:Trail sports a body made of aluminum, carbon fiber and high-tensile steel, resulting in a curb weight as low as 1,750 kilograms (3,860 lbs) even with the traction battery installed. This gives the vehicle weight of just 1750kg, including the battery pack.

The performance specifications for the Audi AI:TRAIL are markedly different from those for conventional automobiles. Audi states that it has a top speed of 130kmph.

Given that the AI:TRAIL is intended for use in areas without charging infrastructure, the thing that really draws the attention is its range. Powered by a lithium-ion battery, the AI: Trail is expected to offer a maximum driving range of up to 500kms (depending on the terrain). On rough ground, where the nearly constantly elevated wheel slip alone means that energy consumption is higher, that target drops to about 250 kilometres.

The windscreen wraps around the front of the vehicle like the cockpit of a helicopter. The vehicle electronics continuously monitor the energy flow and consumption, thereby ensuring maximum economy even during off-road driving.

The AI:TRAIL quattro has a range of 400-500 kilometres on the road based on the WLTP standard.

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