National Geographic

Driving through Norway with the Audi e-tron

This film role is perfect for the first purely electric Audi: the Audi e-tron on a journey of discovery through Norway. On the road through a country on the absolute cutting edge of renewable electric energy, sustainability and environmental awareness. Where there are the most electric cars per capita. The core of this documentary: A researcher for National Geographic sets off in an Audi e-tron and shows how Norway is consistently and innovatively pursuing a path toward complete electromobility and electrification.

First day of filming: National Geographic explorer Dr. Leslie Dewan, nuclear scientist from the United States, gets acquainted with the Audi e-tron. With its sporty looks, streamlined body made of aluminium and steel, impressive roominess and comfortable equipment, the five-door luxury electric SUV naturally makes an excellent first impression. The interior of the Audi e-tron exudes performance, intelligence and lightness. Design and technology form a harmonious whole that conveys a complete sense of well-being, and not only to an ambitious technology expert like Dr. Dewan. First, a quick explanation of its operation and displays from Alexandra Hase, the seasoned instructor of the Audi driving experience. Then off she drives on her research tour.

The starting point is Tromsø, a city that spreads across multiple islands on the west coast of the Barents Sea. The northernmost cathedral in the world is located here, but there is still no connection to the railway network. Car, plane and ship are the means of transport here in the Norwegian section of Lapland. Tromsø lies about 350 kilometres above the Arctic Circle. Average annual temperature: 2.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius. Now, at the end of February, the thermometer ranges from -4 to +4 degrees Celsius. The snow piles up meters high along roads covered in thick ice. The bridges that connect the countless small islets like huge strings of pearls are especially slippery and treacherous.

No problem for the Audi e-tron and its electric all-wheel drive. Thanks to its powerful traction and superior stability, it ensures maximum safety in addition to electrifying driving pleasure, especially in critical road conditions like those this morning in Norway. With the e-quattro, the drive torque between the front and rear axles are continuously and variably controlled and distributed. Even faster than with conventional quattro technology: In only about 30 milliseconds, once the system detects a new driving situation, the drive torque is properly adjusted and distributed.

The first research destination is reached, safe and sound. It’s a small but highly efficient hydroelectric power plant that supplies more than a hundred homes with electricity. Water is the most important source of electricity in Norway. So it is also a key factor in converting the entire transport system of the Scandinavian country to sustainable electric propulsion.

Second day of filming: Dr. Dewan visits reindeer herders and their herds in the Norwegian tundra. With the help of MMI navigation plus and Audi connect online services, this target for exploration can also be quickly identified and targeted in the cockpit of the Audi e-tron. The indigenous Sami people have long used the principles of modern navigation technology for their everyday life, which has hardly changed through the centuries. Reindeer herder Sara demonstrates it for the researcher from National Geographic: With frosty fingers on the control levers, the young Sami woman directs a drone to ascend into the misty sky. Using the built-in camera, she can now precisely identify any terrain from a lofty height when she is searching for runaway reindeer from her herd. This makes finding them faster than relying on the GPS transmitter every reindeer wears around its neck.

The drive back to the coast along tightly winding serpentine roads is sure-footed and secure. Powerful, emissions-free and almost silent, the Audi e-tron glides from an altitude of 1,000 meters down to zero. At the moment, its two electric motors with up to 300 kW of system output and 664 Nm torque do not need the enormous power they are capable of delivering instantaneously when the pedal is depressed.

The research tour in Norway is almost finished. Just one more stop in one of the many picturesque fishing villages. While Dr. Leslie Dewan is warming up with tea and soup in the colourful wood cabin of a local family, the Audi e-tron is recharging its batteries from the socket next door in the shed.

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