Electric R8 Kirkby Stephen
Appleby In Westmorland
Here's an Audi that redefines ‘electrifying’ performance! This is the e-tron concept – an R8-based battery-powered stunner which points the way to an electric supercar of the future.
The e-tron is battling for the limelight with BMW’s hybrid Vision EfficientDynamics concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week – and proves that whatever the blue propeller can do, Audi can, too.
Under the reskinned body lie four electric motors – two on each axle. Together, these give an output of 309bhp, as well as an incredible 4,500Nm of torque. The result is a four-wheel-drive performance car capable of 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 124mph – with zero tailpipe emissions.
The e-tron’s low-slung proportions are immediately recognisable. Yet the R8 styling cues get a futuristic slant, with a smoother grille, cut-out LED lights and aerodynamic wheels.
Inside, Audi’s usual layout has made way for space-age minimalism. In front of the driver is a clean, uncluttered dash, which extends into the door panels.
As there’s no need for a transmission tunnel, the designers have created a slim and compact centre console. Mounted on this is a dial that controls all the cabin’s major functions, through a large screen in front of the driver.
Under the skin, a blend of an aluminium spaceframe and plastic body panels ensures the e-tron is relatively light, at 1,600kg.
And by placing the 470kg lithium-ion battery pack where the petrol engine would usually be, Audi has managed to provide the new model with the handling of a mid-engined supercar. Plus, in corners, extra power can be sent to the wheel that needs it most.
The weight is distributed 42/58 front to rear, and the 4WD is biased to the back – so the e-tron should be every bit as agile as the regular R8.
It’s even aware of its surroundings. The on-board computer can receive data about upcoming corners and gradients, and can sense traffic light sequences, so it sets the car up to maximise efficiency. Once the battery runs out of charge, though, owners will be able to plug their model into a domestic electrical socket.
While the e-tron isn’t likely to appear in showrooms for some time, parts of its technology will grace Audi cars in the next few years.
Author: Jack Rix