German luxury car manufacturer, Audi unveiled its all-electric off-roader concept called the Audi AI:TRAIL Quattro. The latest in Audi’s AI line of concepts is here, and it’s arguably the most outlandish. It’s also one of the cooler iterations, and it goes by the name of Audi AI:Trail Quattro. It’s not a great name, but it tells you exactly what its goal is, as does the exterior. What immediately stands out are the Wrangler-style flat fenders and chunky tires on enormous 22-inch wheels. Suspended in the middle is a futuristic pod with glass on nearly every surface. This is the off-road buggy of the future.
This comprehensive concept car is an example of the sustainable mobility future Audi is expecting to deliver in the next few years. The Audi AI:Trail is a part of the Audi Concept group, which includes the Audi Aicon, the AI:ME and AI:RACE concept vehicles. The Audi AI:TRAIL is not an ordinary SUV, as it combines the Quattro system with automated driving to provide incredible off-road capabilities. The car is named “Trail”, to evoke the idea of exploring nature. Which is why there are no big screens on-board for streaming TV series or videoconferencing, instead the cabin is surrounded by broad glass surfaces to provide a clear view of the surroundings.
Talking about off-road performance, the TRAIL can scale rough and rocky terrains with ease, as the body architecture of the vehicle provides plenty of agility without coming in contact with the ground. Being lightweight and having maximum body stiffness is quite important for off-roaders, which is why the body of the Audi AI:TRAIL is made of a mixture of high-tech steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. That means this concept vehicle weighs just 1,750 kilograms despite its high-capacity battery. Also, a set of bulky transverse links and MacPherson suspension struts with coil springs and adaptive dampers provide suitable robustness and ensure safe driving stability. The TRAIL also gets a special tire design which contributes to increasing the ride height by over 60 millimetres. Aside from improved off-road capability, this car also provides the occupants with an enormous amount of additional comfort.
Not surprising considering the Quattro part of its name, the AI:Trail features all-wheel drive. It comes courtesy of four electric motors, one for each wheel. This should allow for easy torque vectoring to make sure power goes where there’s traction. The AI:Trail also has an impressive 429 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. And with a weight of just 3,858 pounds, which is light for a long-range electric car, it should be a pretty quick buggy, at least up to its 81 mph top speed. On paved roads and mild trails, Audi says it should be able to travel between 248 and 310 miles, and on especially rough and hilly trails, range would drop to about 155 miles.
The on-road performance specifications for the Audi AI:TRAIL is markedly different from conventional automobiles, as the car’s development was not about achieving remarkably quick acceleration or hitting breathtaking speeds on the highway. The AI:TRAIL is intended for use in areas without charging infrastructure, meaning that the car would need a big long-range battery, which is why Audi has fitted this vehicle with battery packs which can provide a range of 400 to 500 kilometres on a single charge, for both, on-road and off-road adventures. However, on steep inclines and rough terrains, the car can still provide an impressive range of 250 kilometres. In order to meet these requirements, the vehicle is designed to reach a maximum speed of 130 km/h on the road.
Marc Lichte, Audi’s Head of Design, describes the use case: “With the AI:TRAIL, we are showing an off-road concept with an emissions-free electric drive for an innovative driving experience away from paved roads. Consistent with this, we designed a monolithic basic vehicle body with maximum glazing to create an intense connection to the surroundings. A concept for sustainable mobility on demand.”