Audi Elaine Concept Brings Autonomous Drive To E-Tron Sportback
It may look familiar, but the new-old concept is significantly smarter than its predecessor.
Meet Elaine. It’s one of Audi’s two electric concepts prepared for the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, which effectively starts tomorrow, but the company organized a preview to show what it has prepared for the event. Elaine started out in life as the E-Tron Sportback concept originally unveiled in April at Auto Shanghai before getting a new wardrobe and a highly autonomous driving system meeting Level 4 requirements.
Crossover fan or not, there’s no denying the new showcar looks pretty sharp inside and out. But the biggest change is hiding underneath the futuristic metal as Audi has taken the traffic jam pilot system from the flagship A8 to a new level by installing the highway pilot. With the newly gained functionality, the concept is smart enough to change lanes automatically, without any human input. Should you want to intervene, Elaine will be kind enough to let you do that and it won’t mind at all.
With one electric motor at the front axle and two more at the back, the zero-emissions concept has a combined output of 430 horsepower (320 kilowatts) or up to 496 hp (370 kW) once the boost mode is turned on. It takes just four and a half seconds to cover the sprint to 62 mph (100 kph), while details about the top speed have not been disclosed.
What we do know is the large 95-kWh battery taken from the E-Tron Sportback (pictured above) will last for more than 310.7 miles (500 kilometers) as per the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). Once depleted, it can be charged wirelessly or by using the 150-kW fast charger.
While Elaine won’t make it to the assembly line, the E-Tron Sportback has already been confirmed for production at the factory in Brussels from 2019, one year after the regular E-Tron also slated to be built in Belgium. Both EVs will undoubtedly go through some changes to make them more feasible for the roads. As such, those massive 23-inch wheels will probably have to go.