Audi has announced that its future vehicles will have an electrical system running at 48 volts, a notable jump from the 12 volts used in the its vehicles today and in the past. The move will serve as a key foundational piece that will support the inclusion of new advanced systems and features while maintaining performance and efficiency from a vehicle’s powertrain.
“We are using the full bandwidth of electrification in our drive principles strategy”, said Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of management for technical development at Audi. “Running part of the vehicle electrical system at 48 volts plays a central role in this. It enables us to make more energy available. That paves the way for new technologies with which we can make our cars more sporty, more efficient and more convenient to use.”
Audi previewed the new 48-volt electrical system in the Audi A6 TDI and RS5 TDI concept cars. Both vehicles feature an electrically-powered compressor in turbocharger form, which will utilize the additional electrical power. It’s highly likely that the 2016 Audi SQ7, the S model variant of the next-generation Q7, is expected to be the first Audi model to benefit from the more powerful electrical system, as the SQ7 will utilize an electric turbocharger. Besides being able to deliver power to electrified turbochargers and superchargers, the upgraded electrical system is also ideal for advanced dynamic chassis control features.