Munich’s electricity supply is about to spark 20 road-ready Audi A1 e-trons into life on the German city’s streets as part of an exciting pilot project undertaken by Audi AG in partnership with E.ON, the Munich municipal utility company Stadtwerke München (SWM) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

All 20 examples of the innovative battery-powered ‘Mega City vehicle’ (MCV) will be operational by mid-2011 as participants in the “eflott” project, which forms part of the “Model Region Electromobility Munich” initiative sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Transport. ‘Fuelled’ by 200 newly installed charging stations, they will enable experts to address a number of issues, from the data transfer between the driver, vehicle and electric filling station to the power grid and the use of smartphones as the central interface for the driver.

Delivering an output equivalent to 102PS, the lithium-ion battery mounted within the floor assembly in front of the rear axle of the A1 e-tron powers it to a top speed of 81mph and gives it a range of more than 31 miles in city traffic. From start up it is classified as a zero emissions vehicle over this distance. A compact internal combustion engine recharges the battery when its energy is depleted.

A small, single-rotor Wankel engine in this near-series production vehicle increases the range in exceptional circumstances. This “range extender” powers a generator that produces 15 kW of charging power. If the range extender is used to recharge the battery, the A1 e-tron can cover an additional 124 miles. According to a draft standard for the calculation of fuel consumption for range extender vehicles, this represents a fuel economy figure of 148.7mpg, equating to a CO2 output of only 45 g/km.

As an operator of subways and trams, SWM has decades of experience with electric mobility in short-range public transport. The expansion of the charging infrastructure marks their entry to the field of sustainable individual mobility. “The SWM charging stations will ‘pump’ nothing but our green electricity,” says Dr. Florian Bieberbach, Commercial Director of SWM, reducing the vehicles’ CO2 emissions to zero. Our efforts to expand renewable energies are providing the foundations that allow us to do this. By 2025, we hope to generate enough green electricity in our own plants to meet the electricity needs of the entire population of Munich – including the requirements of electric vehicles. This would make Munich the first city of over one million inhabitants to achieve this ambitious goal.”

Text and Pictures: Audi AG