313bhp sports car will be more expensive than an R8 when it goes on sale in 2012

Audi says it only plans to make 1000 units of its e-tron electric sports car and that it will almost certainly be priced at "above R8" levels when it goes on sale in 2012.

"There are always people who want to be first to own new technology," Achim Badstubner, Audi's head of exterior design told Autocar.

See Audi e-tron concept car pictures

He added that given it has 5000 dealers worldwide, Audi thought 1000 units was achievable. However, he added that Audi would make e-trons to order and would stop short if the run didn't sell out.

Audi's vision for its electric car is not dissimilar to Tesla's, whose roadster also commands junior-supercar prices. "Electric cars are usually city cars," said Badstubner, "but this is difficult because batteries are so expensive, limiting their competitiveness."

Like the Tesla Roadster, therefore, the e-tron will be a premium alternative for well-heeled early adopters.

The 313bhp sports car is powered by four electric motors, one for each wheel, and uses composite bodywork over an alumninium spaceframe chassis.

Audi believes some customers will choose an e-tron over a conventional sports car, but that many customers will choose one to make a statement instead of buying a cheaper electric car or hybrid.

Matt Prior

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Audi reviews, news and video

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8 December 2009

Also which hasn't been said, people will buy one because it's a performance car. Matching with Audi philosophy it should outperform a normally fuelled R8. It will certainly not be sold just because "it's electric".

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