[YesAuto Fresh Technology Interpretation] A few years ago, when you mentioned the car of the future, what would you think of? The doors that open automatically, the dashboards full of numbers, letters, and graphics that are full of technological sense, or will they communicate with you, know what you think of a computer, or float in the air? Several years have passed, and the reality seems a bit disappointing. The fantasies of cars in our childhood minds seem to remain in the laboratory. Is the future in our minds really unrealistic dreams? The answer is far less pessimistic than imagined. Today's cars are moving towards not using fossil fuels, reducing exhaust emissions, and of course, the development of autonomous driving that you expect. So, if there is such an environment that examines the real future from a more realistic perspective, how can we give up this opportunity to return to the future?

When it comes to imagining new technologies, if we don't impose restrictions, we can easily get rid of our brains. Those wild ideas are good, but when they think that they won't be realized in the short term, there will be a sense of loss from dreams back to reality. Therefore, in order to reduce this sense of loss, we feel that these new technologies should be classified simply, and those that have been out of the laboratory in a progressive manner can be mass-produced; some aspects have yet to be improved; it is only an idea or it is still out of mass production. There is a classified display at a distance. Since they are so similar to yesterday, today, and tomorrow, let us start “traveling” according to this relationship.

● Yesterday

Even the most realistic part of science and technology day, we need to find a carrier to display. Then, the flagship SUV Q7 of the Audi family should be a good choice, not to mention that there is a product in this family that also bears the name of TDI e-tron quattro, although the new generation of Audi Q7 (hereinafter referred to as Q7) has been listed overseas , But domestic consumers still have to wait some time. For a vehicle that domestic consumers have not yet understood in detail, it seems a bit aggrieved to classify it as yesterday. However, for the new technologies that will be discussed later, the Q7 3.0TDI e-tron quattro (hereinafter referred to as Q7 e-tron quattro) is more like a display of Audi’s current technical achievements. After all, for such a family flagship SUV In other words, Audi has decentralized all its existing mature technologies.

– a familiar stranger

Although the Q7 e-tron quattro or the new generation of Q7 have not really entered the country as a whole, after waves of official map analysis, static experience, and test drive reports, people interested in it should no longer Strange again. As a member of the new generation of Q7, e-tron quattro retains the design concept of the new generation of models.

Since the Q7 e-tron quattro is not much different from the regular version in terms of appearance and interior, I will not repeat it here. If you are still new to the new Q7, I suggest you click “Familiar strangers to analyze the technical highlights of the new Audi Q7” read. Of course, as a vehicle with overhead e-tron and quattro technology, it always has its own special features, and the details reflect its unique personality.

-Unfamiliar powertrain layout

Like most Audi models with overhead e-tron technology, the powertrain of the Q7 e-tron quattro is also composed of two parts, a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The partner is an old friend, plus an 8-speed automatic transmission. We have seen the layout of the powertrain on the Q5 hybrid before.

-Emissions improved?

When it comes to diesel engines, I know what you are thinking. In this “on the cusp of the storm”, emission control can't be ignored. This 3.0TDI engine uses SCR, which is the selective catalytic reduction technology of exhaust gas.

In addition to diesel engines, hybrid systems are also worthy of attention. In order to reduce weight and improve the stability of related parts, the stator of this hybrid system uses a hollow design. We have seen this design at the ThyssenKrupp technology exhibition before, but Audi engineers did not Announce which supplier the Q7 e-tron quattro uses technology comes from.

In addition to the engine and electric motor, another highlight of this system is its battery system. It adopts liquid-cooled cooling. When fully charged, the cruising range can reach 56 kilometers under the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) standard. In addition to these numbers that are closely related to daily use, this battery pack also applies a brand-new design concept, which we will see later.

-Powertrain working together

As the saying goes, “One monk has water to drink, and two monks carry water to drink.” The dual powertrains of diesel engine and electric motor require excellent coordination and cooperation. In other words, whether the vehicle is driven by an electric motor or a diesel engine, or whether the two work together is a difficult problem. The answer given by Audi engineers is…

Another detail of this powertrain is worth noting, that is, electric-powered vehicles mainly rely on electric compressors for air-conditioning and cooling, and they need to consume electricity when heating, and use PTC heating. Obviously, although this can ensure riding comfort, But it will affect the mileage of the vehicle. To solve this problem, Q7 e-tron quattro uses heat pump technology.

The heat pump technology of the Q7 e-tron quattro is based on the traditional air-conditioning refrigeration system, which realizes the supply of warm air by adding a condenser for heat dissipation in the car. When heating is needed, it is convenient to use the air-conditioning to refrigerate the reverse process.

Well, after we have a simple understanding of the Q7 e-tron quattro system, let us experience its performance. The new technology is good, but if you just pile it up blindly, that result is meaningless. In other words, the rational application of these new technologies that have not been out of the laboratory is the focus of our observation.

-Say goodbye to the traffic jam

Excellent acceleration and braking performance are not enough. These are what the previous generation model has already done, or it should be done. For a new generation flagship model, the assistance of various latest technologies will not lose the overhead halo. . More new technologies are hidden in unknown places. Perhaps the most advanced technology is the undetected technology. When you really drive it, you will find subtle changes brought about by new technologies such as full-size LCD screen and head-up display.

Even when the traffic jam is really unfortunate, as long as the speed of the vehicle does not exceed 65km/h, you can safely hand over the control of the vehicle to the computer. This is the new generation. When the short experience came to an end and I asked myself what label should I put on this big guy, I couldn't find the right words in my mind for a while, luxurious, comfortable, and full of motivation? It seems that they are not comprehensive enough. The Q7 e-tron quattro, or in other words, will gradually increase the number of labels on cars in the future. They are evolving from point A to point B as a means of transportation into a master with multiple jobs and proficient in everything. As we said at the beginning, the Q7 e-tron quattro is only a small part of Audi's technology, and the future has just begun.

● Today

    If the Q7 e-tron quattro is the answer to the future submitted by Audi engineers in the past, then the real future should be the content that is being written or has some yet to be improved.

-“Butterfly change” at 48 volts

As the great philosopher Immanuel Kant of the 18th century said-“seemingly great changes always start with subtle changes”, the development of future automobiles will often start from an unnoticeable detail. This is the case when the electric voltage used by the car has risen from 12 volts to 48 volts.

At present, the standard voltage used in the electrical system of a gasoline engine passenger car is 12 volts. Audi engineers are increasing it to 48 volts. Maybe you may ask what is the benefit? Such a change is of course not only a simple increase in value. After the voltage is increased to 48 volts, the cable is thinner, lighter, and has less energy loss. More importantly, this provides a platform for the application of new electrical systems or new technologies.

The existing 12V voltage system has become more and more difficult to satisfy the greedy new technology of appetite, which is like a piece of beef with the same size and weight that needs to be distributed to more and more “hungry wolves.” Therefore, increasing the vehicle voltage has become one of the solutions. As a result, it is also possible for future cars to be equipped with the following new technologies.

When the voltage is really increased to 48V, a new era will come, which is the electrical modular platform. This year, everything is about modularization. The benefits of reducing development costs and development time are obvious. The concept of electrical modular platform also has the above advantages. In this regard, Audi has its own timetable for advancement.

● New energy

If the advancement of electrification is to prepare vehicles for carrying more advanced technologies in the future, then new energy technologies are the cornerstone of the above preparations. Audi's goals include issues such as new battery development, battery modules, operating strategies during driving, and battery reuse after the end of its service life.

-The battery also plays modular?

Everyone is familiar with the concept of modular design. In the past two years, the concept of modular platform design and production has gradually been recognized by the majority of car companies. Now, this design concept has penetrated into the development of many parts, and battery modularization is one of the results. As we all know, the design cycle of new models is 3-5 years, and the cycle from conception to trial production, testing, mass production preparation and final mass production of batteries is longer. If the exterior designer of a new model needs to have a vision beyond the current 3-5 years, then the designer of the battery part must carefully consider whether the battery developed over a longer period of time will be replaced by new technology in mass production. The battery modular development concept can solve this problem to a certain extent.

Of course, the cylindrical 18650 battery also has its own advantages. It is more suitable for pure electric vehicles, and its control mechanism is more flexible. If a single mechanism fails, it can be called and replaced. However, Audi's engineers said that they have begun to study the technology of individually replacing individual soft-pack batteries and rectangular batteries when problems occur.

For owners of new energy vehicles, especially pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid models, the development of new batteries seems to be a long-term, or something that is invisible or intangible, and there are more troubles. Their car life does not seem to be as perfect as imagined. The following new technologies can more or less change these status quo.

-New technology helps you get rid of mileage anxiety

At this stage, the reason for the remaining obstacles to the popularization of electric vehicles or new energy vehicles is that in addition to the cruising range determined by the energy density of the existing batteries, another problem is the charging time of some models. The refueling speed of ordinary internal combustion engines is much shorter than the charging time of most pure electric models. In order to compensate for the above problems, further reducing the charging time has become the focus of research and development.

Similar to the voltage increase of the electrical system mentioned above to 48 volts, the unification of the charging interface is also a decision that requires the coordination of the entire industry to give up part of the benefits of each other. Therefore, Audi and other German automakers have adopted the combined charging system (CCS) shown in the picture above. Through this system, electric vehicles can be charged with direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) through the Combo 2 standard connector. In order to further promote these standards worldwide, in May 2015, Audi worked with BMW, Daimler, Opel, Porsche, and Volkswagen to jointly use this standard. In addition, given that China and Germany have formulated an Industry 4.0 cooperation agreement, which includes the issue of a unified charging interface, the vehicle charging system interface sold and used in my country in the future may also be the new type of universal interface shown above.

● Get rid of the trouble of wiring harness

If the charging time is too long is a shortcoming that is gradually improving, then you also need to worry about the use of charging equipment. In the days when charging equipment is still far away from popularization, not to mention holidays, you may face the embarrassing situation of charging dedicated parking spaces being occupied by traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, not to mention holidays. Therefore, it is also necessary to reform the charging method. Row.

The above problems are just a small part of the many problems that new energy vehicles will encounter if they want to be truly popular in the future. What makes people who look at longer-term awake at night is that most of the new energy vehicles at this stage are actually not Not environmentally friendly. Reducing or eliminating fossil fuel-burning internal combustion engines does not mean that there is no pollution. On the contrary, those thermal power plants that provide electricity for some new energy vehicles are also continuously polluting the environment. Can people only shift the source of pollution?

● Tomorrow

The above “today” technical topics may be a bit heavy, and those unfinished problems are just small soil slopes that temporarily hinder the future progress. Audi is planning more for tomorrow.

-e-gas

If you still have an impression of the Frankfurt Auto Show soon after, you must remember the Audi A4 g-tron in the blue coat among the brand new A4 family on the Audi booth. It is included in the “Tomorrow” series because of Audi's efforts to provide clean fuel for vehicles behind the g-tron technology, which Audi calls e-gas technology.

-March towards zero exhaust emissions

Perhaps, radical environmentalists still think that the g-tron model is not environmentally friendly, because it still needs to consume gasoline born from fossil fuels. Engineers also understand this truth. Therefore, in Audi's longer-term new energy research and development system, completely get rid of fossils. Fuel, the only emission is the fuel cell, which takes up the top priority.

-What is the ultimate goal?

Science and Technology Day has limited time and exhibition space. Therefore, in this limited environment, Audi cannot show its full understanding of future new energy technologies and development projects. When I asked engineers, what is the future of new energy in their minds? Instead of explaining the new battery development concept for me, they took me to a pile of bottles filled with liquid.

Full text summary:

What is the future? The short-lived science and technology day can only be viewed with the attitude of taking a glimpse and guessing the whole thing. Audi can't explain this question clearly, and it seems that no one has said clearly in a short time. Therefore, preparing multiple technical routes for all possible futures is the safest way to portray a bright future. In the short term, the internal combustion engine that has been in service for a long time will not disappear. The combination of the motor and its matching not only protects the environment, but also retains the existing mature control, comfort and other familiar things. At the same time, the development of a new generation of battery technology and charging technology will help future automobiles reduce their dependence on internal combustion engines and reduce people's anxiety about electric cruising range. The longer-term future will be realized by technologies such as fuel cells. This is the perspective from which we view the future in this era. I don't know how we look at this technological change when we return to the future a few years later.