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.
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 integrateswith 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.