Production car may be on hold, but work continues
For a car that is officially on hold as a production model, there seems to be a lot of life in the Audi R8 e-tron program.
Back in October, Audi said it was re-thinking plans to build production models of the electric supercar, but work has continued at a rapid pace. At the very least, the automaker is using the e-tron project as a technological learning platform. A few days ago it released an update on that progress, plus 39 new photographs, on the Audi enthusiast site Fourtitude.com.
As well as sporting technological breakthroughs, the current R8 e-tron has been given a facelift that incorporates the latest R8 design elements.
Power is provided by two permanent-magnet synchronous motors mounted at the rear axle that can deliver 376-horsepower and 604 lb.-ft. of torque. That will send the car from 0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds. And, since the two motors operate independently, the R8 e-tron has torque vectoring power delivery to the rear wheels.
The R8’s shape is already extremely slippery, but because the e-tron version has no engine, transmission or exhaust, designers were able create a completely smooth underbody that results in a drag co-efficient of just 0.27.
Due to the electric vehicle’s silent running, and the resulting danger to pedestrians, Audi engineers have developed a unique sound for the R8 e-tron that emanates from a speaker system mounted in the underbody. It is audible outside the car at speeds under 60 km/h.
One of the stated reasons that the production R8 e-tron was put on hold was a lack of advancement in battery technology. But as it stands, the battery in the latest version of the battery can store 48.6 kWh of energy with an acceptable range of 215 km. Audi has also developed an iPhone app for remote charging and, completely exhausted, the battery can be recharged in less than an hour at a high performance DC charging station.
Although a production version of the R8 e-tron remains on hold, it seems that the appearance of some form of Audi electric supercar is only a matter of time.