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The disappointing range of the early Audi E-Tron gains 12 miles thanks to a software update

Range-extending software updates are pretty radical, especially when they address the distinctly more-range of the early Audi E-Tron Quattro. When it launched, the original E-Tron crossover only had 212 miles of range, which is disappointing when you remember the Nissan Leaf e + had 226 that same year.

Either way, this is going to get a nice 12 mile boost with no hardware swap thanks to an update being rolled out across all Audi service centers. If you have an E-Tron 2019 or 2020, take it to your dealer and they can install the update.

It’s the same update that defaults to 2021 E-Trons with a range of 222 miles. While the 2019 models don’t do quite as much, it makes a significant difference by adding 20 kilometers or just over 12 miles of travel time per charge. Although the 2021 E-Tron will go the distance in part because it has updated and improved hardware, the software can be applied to the older models.

If you’re wondering exactly how software can increase reach, it’s a combination of two things. On the one hand, the update extends how much usable power the 95 kilowatt hour battery has available. Usable power is a fully customizable concept – you can’t exceed the total capacity of the battery, but you can limit the amount of energy available on an ad hoc basis. One example is the old Formula E rule for saving energy behind the safety car.

Manufacturers manage battery life by limiting how much energy is actually stored in the cells. But efficiency is not only increased here.

There’s also improved management of the cars’ two engines, which means you can save energy by only plugging in and turning on the front engine when the car actually needs it. Since there are no losses when driving an electric motor (in contrast to the combustion torque), additional power can be demanded when all-wheel drive is required, which otherwise relieves the battery.

Further optimizations ensure that the car meets its thermal requirements a little better. That’s good news for battery life, and that’s why Audi was able to increase the available capacity. The cooling works better with fast charging and under load with high acceleration and regeneration moments. It’s all pretty decent stuff, especially since it can be applied to two-year-old cars and makes a significant difference in range and lifespan.

It’s not an over-the-air update and of course won’t convince anyone to retrospectively buy an old model, but it’s a nice little bonus for anyone with an early-release E-Tron. It also helps that it’s free.

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