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Some optimization can unlock more range, but don’t expect any miracles.
After three years in production, the Audi e-tron SUV is getting a range increase thanks to a software update. The automaker has been able to squeeze out 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of range in the WLTP cycle by optimizing thermal management and electric motor behavior. The result is a usable 86-kWh capacity, up from 83 kWh.
The most significant change concerns the all-wheel-drive system in the dual-motor SUV.
“In normal driving mode, the motor attached to the rear axle is responsible for propulsion,” the automaker notes. “For improved efficiency, the front electric motor is now almost completely disconnected and powered off—and only when more power is needed do both motors come into play. This makes it possible to even more effectively exploit the major advantage of the asynchronous motor concept, i.e., currentless operation without electrical drag losses.”
Audi has also tweaked the thermal management system of the electric SUV, which regulates the temperatures of its high-voltage components. The system uses four separate circuits, Audi notes, and engineers have been able to reduce the volume flow rates in the coolant circuit. The result is lower energy consumption, with the surplus being kept by the battery.
The changes will be made via a software update, but it won’t be an over-the-air software update—owners will need to take their e-trons to the dealership for these changes. The good news is that this update will be installed for free.
The update is meant for e-tron quattro models made between mid-September 2018, which corresponds to the 2019 model year, and the end of November 2019, which falls on the 2020 model year. Vehicles made after November of last year had already received the updates during their manufacture, so Audi is making this retrofit of sorts available to older models.
Audi hasn’t confirmed just how many extra miles of range US owners can expect in the EPA cycle, as these things aren’t quite apples to apples. But any help for the 204-mile range of the e-tron quattro will probably be appreciated by the owners, once the software update is distributed to US dealerships for installation.