Audi A6 E-Tron concept

Audi electric vehicles will retain the singleframe front grille

There is somewhat of a common misconception about electric vehicles not needing a front grille because there’s no internal combustion engine under the hood that needs cooling. However, a grille can still play a functional role in an EV as even though there’s no traditional radiator to cool off the water circuit to lower a gasoline or diesel engine’s temperature, some of the hardware associated with purely electric cars needs to be cooled as well.

We’re specifically talking about electric motors and batteries, along with the electronic control modules that enable the hardware to work as advertised. However, it’s worth noting automakers are not forced to install the cooling units in the center of the car as it’s the case with ICE-powered vehicles as they have the freedom to put them somewhere else depending on the packaging.

This brings up a question – do we really need a center-mounted front grille in an EV? For Audi, the answer would have to be yes. Not necessarily from a functional point of view, but as a visual cue since the implementation of a singleframe grille immediately identifies the car as being one carrying the Four Rings. The disclosure was made at a virtual roundtable with the media during which Motor Trend learned the grille is here to stay.

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The grille will obviously change compared to what today’s conventionally powered Audis have, and the company has already given us a sneak preview of what’s to come. We’re referring to the A6 E-Tron concept unveiled earlier this year, which still has an imposing grille despite the lack of a combustion engine. Finished in Heliosilver, the concept’s enclosed grille is bordered at the bottom by air intakes to cool off not just the drivetrain and batteries, but also the front brakes.

It’s a similar story with the Q4 E-Tron and Q4 Sportback E-Tron pair of electric crossovers as well as the E-Tron GT sedan. Audi’s equivalent of the MEB-based three-row Volkswagen ID.6 for China has been teased in prototype form with a fresh take on the singleframe grille, and we’re expecting a similar look from next year’s PPE-based Q6 E-Tron.

As a refresher, Audi will introduce its final new model equipped with a combustion engine in 2026 and will end production of ICE cars by 2033, except in China where the gasoline engine is expected to survive well into the next decade.

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Source: Motor Trend