AUDI TRIPS THE LIGHT FANTASTIC
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Sep 7, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Get ready for the next car craze: Light-emitting diodes running along the exterior flanks of the car. You can thank Audi for this. The recipient of this feature is the new A2 concept, which Audi will be introducing at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Fiber optic lights are not new. You can see those on the doors and dash of the new Camaro. Light-emitting diodes surrounding the entire car is pretty novel, however. Don’t be surprised if this catches on like wild fire among car designers. Here’s what Audi as to say about the new Audi A2 concept: Exterior design The opaque glass roof of the show car finished in flat Electric White becomes transparent at the push of a button. When an electric voltage is applied, small particles integrated into the glass align so that the light can pass through the glazing unhindered. When the glass roof is darkened, however, it blocks the infrared component of the sunlight almost completely, effectively shadowing the interior. This is a further contribution to efficient temperature management in the purely electric powered Audi A2 concept.
As with every Audi, the front of the technology study is dominated by the single-frame grill, in this case, in a special version tailored to electrical operation. The upper two-thirds are designed as a closed, folding surface, behind which are the charging socket and the cooling water connection. The four Audi rings are intensively sculpted; the engine hood is permanently bolted to the body. Mounted in the lower section of the single-frame grille, which acts as an air inlet, are highly efficient cooling elements made of graphite foam. The lightweight mineral is an excellent conductor of heat from the water to the ambient air. Eight blocks with six graphite elements each are located in the central air inlet. Another highlight of the A2 concept are the matrix beam LED headlights. An entire bundle of small light-emitting diodes arranged one above the other produce the low beam and high beam light. Microreflectors enable the precise positioning of the light. The LEDs can be switched on and off independently to illuminate the road perfectly in any situation. Numerous mini-LEDs set in the lower section of the headlight like a pearl necklace produce the daytime running light. The tail lights also use matrix beam technology. They are adaptive: The system uses a sensor to detect how good visibility is and adjusts the brightness accordingly. The side view of the technology study is also typical Audi, with brawny wheel wells, a low greenhouse and an early-sloping roof line that ends in a long rear spoiler. Sharp lines frame tautly arched sheet metal surfaces. The dynamic line above the sills rises distinctly; the tornado line below the windows runs slightly upward. Just below the tornado line is a characteristic feature of the Audi A2 concept – the Audi dynamic light: a band of light that connects the headlights with the tail lights. Light-emitting diodes and light guides produce the Audi dynamic light. When in standby-mode, the several centimeter-wide band appears black. When the owner of the Audi A2 concept approaches, it lights up blue in welcome and focuses on the door handles, which are inset into the band and extend when the driver swipes a hand over them. The dynamic light shines bright orange when the A2 concept is driving. It pulses on the corresponding side when indicating a turn, and when braking, a red pulse of light runs along the flank as a warning for other road users. Five laser diodes produce the rear fog light. When visibility is good, their light is invisible. In the fog or rain, however, it strikes the water particles in the air and becomes clearly visible as a floating triangle.
Interior The architecture of the interior takes advantage of the possibilities afforded by the electric drive system. There is no center tunnel; the console between the front seats can be lowered to allow free passage through the vehicle. Heating and cooling air flows indirectly and draft-free through a perforated surface beneath the windshield. If both touchpads are touched at the same time, the A2 concept switches into a semi-autonomous driving mode. This convenience feature is a welcome relief in slow-moving traffic, for example. The driver maintains full control of the vehicle at all times, exactly like with today’s ACC stop & go system on which the new technology is based. When the driver pushes the button to activate the electric drive, an animated band of light encircles the driver and passenger, and two touchpads fold up to the right of the steering wheel. The small touchsurface on the left is for shifting gears (shift-by-wire); the larger one on the right is reserved for the air conditioning and media functions. The show car has all of the Audi connect technologies on board. The Bluetooth online car phone connects it to the Internet via a UTMS module, a WLAN hotspot lets the passengers surf and e-mail from their mobile devices. The fast data connection delivers specially prepared news and information to the vehicle. The services currently offered by Audi are available for navigation: the map with images from Google Earth, Audi traffic information online, Google POI search via voice control and Google Street View. Technology The Audi A2 concept is a purely electric vehicle. The lithium-ion battery mounted in the sandwich floor stores 31 kWh of energy, 24 kWh of which are usable. The electric motor is transversely mounted in the front of the vehicle. It delivers 85 kW (116 hp) of peak power (60 kW continuous) and 270 Nm (199.14 lb-ft) of torque (160 Nm (118.01 lb-ft continuous) to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. The Audi technology study has a range of 200 km (124.27 miles) in the European driving cycle. It takes roughly 1.5 hours to fully recharge the battery with 400 volt three-phase current and approximately four hours with 230 volt household current. The Audi A2 concept is also designed for the new contactless charging technology (Audi Wireless Charging).