Audi introducing 48-Volt Electrical Systems?
In recent months we have reported on how the increasing amount of technology in vehicles is putting a strain on electrical systems, forcing manufacturers to look at innovative solutions. To date, almost every car that comes off the production line is equipped with a 12-volt system, but in many cases this amount of power is barely sufficient.
Think about it – if you bought a new car today, how many components or functions would you operate without electrics? Steering, braking, changing mirror positions, opening windows, getting directions, even moving the seat – these are just the most basic. It’s no wonder that batteries and electrical systems are feeling overworked.
Audi has now announced that it is stepping up to the challenge, and its future cars will likely have a 48-volt system instead. The first two prototypes are the A6 TDI and the RS 5 TDI.
What does this mean for the layman?
Simply, more available energy. The superbly-monikered Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, responsible for Audi’s technical development, expects it to result in faster, more efficient, and more dynamic vehicles, able to cope with more advanced technologies that will surely arrive over the coming years. Future-proofing is the name of the game here. Much as a company expanding its offices would look at a cabling system to handle whatever new tech
Speculation on Audi’s plans involves lithium-ion batteries combined with traditional 12-volt batteries used for certain functions such as power-assisted windows and mirrors, that function perfectly well with a less powerful system, an electric turbocharger, and more energy-efficient alternators, leading to a degree of fuel conservation. It has the hallmarks of a semi-hybrid car.
There will naturally be huge R&D costs involved, but someone had to be first and it looks like Audi, a company with a known bent towards technological development, reckons this is the way of the future. Expect other manufacturers to follow with their own systems in short order.