A 20-strong fleet of Audi’s new A1 e-tron electric vehicle (EV) is now prowling the streets of Munich in a pilot program where they’ll assist in gathering data on a wide variety of issues related to EV transportation and infrastructure.
The fleet trial is part of the “Modellregion Elektromobilität München” (Electric Mobility in Munich as a Pilot Region) project, sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. The ministry is providing the region with around 10 million euros (nearly $14 million) for the study.
The project will address a number of issues relating to EV infrastructure requirements and how drivers interface, understand and use infrastructure such as charging stations. The study will also evaluate a new smartphone-based network that allows communication and data transfer between drivers, vehicles and electric charging stations. For example, researchers hope to evaluate the use of a smartphone as a driver’s main interface within the EV infrastructure.
“Audi works relentlessly on comprehensive approaches which maximize benefits to customers,” Franciscus van Meel, head of electric mobility strategy at AUDI, said in a statement. “In this era of electric mobility, we will offer our customers a wide range of services which go beyond driving itself. For example, the networking of vehicles with their surroundings and with infrastructure as well as new concepts of mobility will be important.”
As for the Audi A1 e-tron, it’s an an electric car with a range extender. Its output of 75 kilowatts and 102 horsepower enables the A1 e-tron to reach a top speed of around 80 mph. If the battery runs out of energy, a compact combustion engine – the range extender – recharges the battery to boost the vehicle’s operating range to as much as 155 miles.