Advanced battery technology breathes new life into Ingolstadt’s aborted zero-emission supercar
12 December 2013

The Audi R8 e-tron will make it into limited-scale production.

Audi has backtracked on an earlier decision to cancel production of the R8 etron, and will now push ahead with small-scale production of the zero-emission two-seater as part of a number of sweeping changes made to its research and engineering operations since the arrival of its new head, Ulrich Hackenberg.

Citing recent advances in lithium-ion battery technology that has reportedly increased its range from an original 215km (134 miles) to close to 400km (248.5 miles), insiders at Audi’s headquarters in Germany suggest the R8 etron will now go into limited production during the latter half of 2014.

The rear-wheel-drive R8 etron is set to act as a halo model for a number of smaller and more affordable new electric-powered Audi models, whose engineering is being overseen by Hackenberg – the man responsible for parent company Volkswagen’s new e-Up and e-Golf, among other hybrid-powered models, including the XL1 and Golf Plug-In Hybrid.

Among the changes made to the R8 etron to enhance its suitability for production is a new lithium battery technology featuring an alternative chemical process and, it is claimed, greater energy density than the original 48.6kWh unit.

Further details remain unclear, although the new car is expected to share the styling of the second-generation R8 – itself due to be launched with conventional petrol engines in 2014. The R8 etron was conceived from the outset around the second-generation R8’s new aluminium and carbonfibre body structure in a move that saw prototypes possess a kerb weight of 1780kg.   

With a combined output of 376bhp and a stout 605lb ft of torque from two electric motors, the earlier R8 etron driven by Autocar back in May was claimed to possess a 0-62mph time of 4.2sec and limited 124mph top speed. However, plans for production were cancelled due to concerns about the all-electric supercar’s limited 215km range.

Our Verdict

It may not have a posh badge, but when it comes to what really matters the R8 has what it takes to hold its head high among supercar rivals

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Comments
14

12 December 2013
it will borrow technology from Porsche 918 Spyder? No?

18 December 2013
The major complexity of the Porsche's drivetrain comes from the integration of two different propulsion systems. Since this R8 isn't a hybrid but a full electric, the only technology which it could perhaps borrow would be the regenerative braking system.

18 December 2013
The major complexity of the Porsche's drivetrain comes from the integration of two different propulsion systems. Since this R8 isn't a hybrid but a full electric, the only technology which it could perhaps borrow would be the regenerative braking system.

12 December 2013
So, less range and slightly slower than the Tesla Model S for (probably) twice the price! Still, its great that a company with a tagline about "advancement though technology" is actually investing in the future. Way to go Audi! You do have some catching up to do..

12 December 2013
Tesla is 2100kgs kerb weight and slower accelerating.

TS7

12 December 2013
... drivers look a bit of a cock doing full-bore acceleration anyway, so what's the odd 10th (0-62 in 4.2 vs 0-60 in 4.2) in the great scheme of things. The Tesla seats 5 (+2 at a pinch) too.

12 December 2013
The new battery almost doubles the range? Apparently, Audi has just solved the biggest problem with the electric car, in one stroke. I must say they've been awfully quiet about this amazing feat. Could that be because there are lies, damned lies and then there's the quoted range of an EV.

13 December 2013
[quote=Norma Smellons] The new battery almost doubles the range? Apparently, Audi has just solved the biggest problem with the electric car, in one stroke. I must say they've been awfully quiet about this amazing feat. Could that be because there are lies, damned lies and then there's the quoted range of an EV. [/quote] I was just thinking the same thing. How exactly do you make an 86% improvement in battery performance in 6 months? Perhaps it was hiding in Wolfgang Durheimer's filing cabinet..?


13 December 2013
Pointless ,hopeless range,wouldn't even get me from my home town to Glasgow and back.Zero emissions? charging it is from the wall from a zero emission coal fired power station ??? Bah Humbug.

Madmac

13 December 2013
More than a quarter of all's Germany's (where most of the car's will probably end up) power comes from renewable enegy, nearly 20% from wind farms alone. And those figures are from 2011

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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