Audi Shows Off EV Quattro Capability By Climbing 85% Gradient Ski Slope
In skiing, the “Mausefalle” is famously the steepest section of the legendary Streif downhill course in Kitzbühel, Austria. It’s where the world’s best ski racers battle for victory in the Hahnenkamm race, so it’s nothing new seeing skiers hurtling down the 85% gradient. But in another bid to show the prowess of all-electric vehicles, Audi sent its first fully electric-powered SUV, the e-tron, up the snowy slopes in the hands of Mattias Ekström, World Rallycross champion and two-time DTM champion. The car was equipped as a “technology demonstrator” with a special quattro powertrain: two electric motors on the rear axle and one electric motor on the front axle, plus 19in wheels with spiked tyres. It achieved a total boost output of up to 370kW and wheel torque of 6579lb-ft, running on modified software to control torque and torque distribution for the slippery conditions.
For safety, the e-tron was equipped with a roll cage and a racing seat with a six-point harness, and fitted with a belay, through which a safety cable was run, though this wasn’t used as a pulling device. “Conquering an 85 percent gradient sounds impossible at first,” says Mattias Ekström. “Even I was impressed with the way this car handles such difficult terrain.”
“We already proved the mettle of the electric SUV last year in a number of Audi e-tron extreme events,” says Peter Oberndorfer, head of product and technology communications. From Pikes Peak to the salt plains of Namibia to the high-voltage test bay in Berlin–the Audi e-tron prototype mastered the greatest of challenges. With the sensational drive up the Mausefalle we have pushed the boundaries even further and demonstrated all the technical possibilities of quattro technology in an electric car.”