2024 Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept was announced this week with much fanfare and glowing reviews from the top motoring journalists. Mat Watson (carwow) loved the "rear light bar", while Rory Reid (AutoTrader) praised the design for being "futuristic".
The concept car had some mesmerising innovations with matrix led projectors and OLED screens for the rear lights. The PPE platform was the most intriguing, meriting this first blog from the TrackEV team.
PPE in detail
The Premium Platform Electric, or PPE, is a modular platform system designed for the battery-electric drive in the B, C & D segments. Designed and developed in cooperation with Porsche, the architecture provides the conditions needed for ultra-modern technology that allows low and high-floor vehicles. The battery module is the central element in the Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept; it has a storage capacity of 100 kWh. Thanks to the 800-volt charging technology up to 270 kW of charging power, a 10-minute top-up should yield 186 miles range.
Compared with the Volkswagen Modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform, the improvements to the motors resulting in a smaller footprint with improved efficiency and power are prominent.
In July 2021, Volkswagen Group announced a new modular car platform called Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) that would succeed the MEB and PPE platforms to be revealed in 2024.
It is not clear how much influence the individual platforms MEB and PPE might have over SSP.
Single Motor and Dual Motor configuration
Basic A6 versions use one electric motor in the rear; the top-of-the-range A6 Avant model has a second electric motor at the front axle (PSM or ASM) that allows them to activate all-wheel drive automatically when needed.
The permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) offer 350 kW output and 800 Nm of torque. BMW i4 M50 (G26) has 400 kW output but only 795 Nm of torque. Audi claims a WLTP range of 435 miles with a 100 kWh battery pack.
Similar to Mercedes EQS and BMW i4 M50, Avant A6 comes with an adaptive air suspension as standard.
The five-link front suspension is an optimised version of the A6 ICE version.
While the 800V technology makes these cars compatible with the Ionity 350 kW DC chargers, Lucid Air, with its 900V+ architecture, continues to be the fastest charging electric vehicle. A6, however, should win against the BMW i4 M50, which has a maximum charging performance of 205 kW.
It is unclear how this platform would perform with a 400V 50kW public charger, the most common rapid charger found in the UK. If the onboard DC charger merely doubles the charging voltage, the charging performance would be inferior to a variable inverter-based platform found in Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Kia EV6.
PPE platform with 800V technology offers a much-needed improvement over the VW MEB platform used by the likes of Audi A4 e-tron and VW ID.3, ID.4. Audi believes the platform would help expand the range of electric vehicles in its portfolio from mid-range upwards to over 30 models by 2025 and help transition towards the single backbone SSP platform by 2035. We believe the future is reassuring at Audi and the Volkswagen Group.