Audi has taken the wraps off its Detroit show car, a smaller and lighter version of its e-tron electric sports car that the firm's development boss Michael Dick described as a "vision of how a small sports car positioned below R8 could look."
The new e-tron is just 3.93m long, 33cm shorter than the original e-tron from last year’s Frankfurt motor show. And at 1.78m wide and 1.22m tall, it’s significantly smaller than a TT.
Like the larger e-tron, the new car is built around an aluminium space frame, and has body panels made from carbonfibre reinforced plastic, which helps to improve the body’s rigidity and keeps the kerbweight down to 1350kg, 250kg less than the first e-tron.
That’s despite a pair of electric motors and a bank of batteries, fitted between the cabin and the rear axle to improve weight distribution, which is 40:60 front/rear.
The twin motors’ 204hp (and 1954lb ft of torque) can propel the car to 62mph in 5.9sec, although like the original e-tron top speed is limited to 124mph to conserve battery life. It also rear-drive rather than the first car’s four-wheel drive set-up.
Audi claims a range of 155 miles for the car on a full charge, which takes 11 hours from a 230v domestic supply. Plug the e-tron into a 400v socket and you can charge it in two hours.
The unveiling of this second e-tron model just a few months after the first was shown indicates that Audi is still looking at different formats for a future electric sports car. While the first e-tron previewed a car the size of an R8 that would cost over £100,000, this second model is clearly aimed at providing a more affordable electric sports car.
Audi is also keen to develop e-tron as a brand in its own right. CEO Rupert Stadler said that "we're confident that e-tron will become as famous as quattro."