Audi e-tron makes successful ascent of legendary downhill ski course

In late January, Audi sent a fully electric-powered Audi e-tron SUV onto the Austrian slopes where the world’s best ski racers battle for victory in the Hahnenkamm Race, and there it climbed the “Mausefalle” on the legendary “Streif”, which has an 85 percent gradient and is therefore the steepest section of the course.
Audi e-tron makes successful ascent of legendary downhill ski course
Courtesy of Audi

In order to climbe the 85 percent gradient, the Audi e‑tron technology demonstrator was equipped with a special quattro powertrain with two electric motors on the rear axle and one electric motor on the front axle. The technology demonstrator achieved a total boost output of up to 370 kW and wheel torque of 8,920 Nm (6,579.1 lb-ft). This ensured full performance on the steep gradient. Audi also modified the software with respect to drive torque and torque distribution for the special conditions on the “Streif”. 19-inch wheels with spikes developed specifically for this driving event provided the necessary grip on snow and ice.

“We already proved the mettle of the electric SUV last year in a number of Audi e‑tron extreme events” said  Peter Oberndorfer, Head of Product and Technology Communications. “From Pikes Peak to the salt plains of Namibia to the high-voltage test bay in Berlin – the Audi e‑tron prototype mastered the greatest of challenges. With the sensational drive up the ‘Mausefalle’ we have pushed the boundaries even further and demonstrated all the technical possibilities of quattro technology in an electric car.”

Driver Mattias Ekström, the World Rallycross champion and two-time DTM champion, added that conquering an 85 percent gradient sounds impossible at first, and that even he was impressed with the way the car handled such difficult terrain.

For the greatest possible safety, the Audi e‑tron technology demonstrator was equipped with a roll cage and a racing seat with a six-point harness. The vehicle itself was equipped with a belay, through which a safety cable was run. There was no pulling device.

Audi had a strong partner at its side for this project: the Austrian beverage producer Red Bull. The two companies are long-standing partners of the Hahnenkamm Race and conducted this event together. The Audi e‑tron technology demonstrator also illustrated this collaboration with a special set of decals.

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