Audi A1 E-tron to use Google Earth navigation

Audi is raising the bar for electric vehicle infotainment systems and will be offering the same telematics package in the European A1 e-tron that it delivers in its top-of-the-line A8 models.

Audi's electric plug-in A1 e-tron will use the same infotainment package offered in the A8
Audi's electric plug-in A1 e-tron will use the same infotainment package offered in the A8. Audi

Audi is raising the bar for electric vehicle infotainment systems by offering the same telematics package in the European A1 E-tron that it delivers in its top-of-the-line A8 sedan .

The Audi A1 E-tron is a prototype plug-in that uses a 45-kilowatt electric motor powered by a 12-kilowatt battery to deliver a 31-mile range. For longer distances, a small gasoline engine generates electricity to recharge the battery and extends the urban EV's range another 125 miles. Gear heads often complain that EVs take the fun out of driving, but the A1 E-tron's infotainment system could change their minds.

It may not go very fast or very far, but at least the prototype's navigation system provides the most visually appealing directions for getting there. In addition to a factory-installed Wi-Fi hot spot that supports up to eight devices, the A1 E-tron's telematics integrates Google Earth navigation with three-dimensional graphics and Internet search. That's a lot of technology for a micro EV, especially considering that infotainment in electric vehicles is often limited to determining energy consumption and battery range.

The A1 E-tron's infotainment package goes beyond tedious vehicle data and offers navigation and search capabilities rivaling what you experience on your computer or mobile phone--probably better in most cases--and opens the door to more-general and natural searches rather than entering specific addresses and points of interest. But this may be small comfort to U.S. buyers; although the A1 E-tron is developed for a global sales, according to an article in the New York Times, it isn't expected in the U.S. any time soon. At least it's nice to know that this technology could end up in a different EV that may be headed to our shores, such as the rumored electric-only A2.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

CNET's Christmas Gift Guide

'Tis the season for a gadget upgrade

Check out these 9 tablets you'll want to bring home for the holidays.