Audi’s designers are pushing the company to make a production version of the PB 18 e-tron electric supercar concept first seen at the Pebble Beach show earlier this year.
The rakish coupé was revealed at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (hence the PB18 name) and is currently on display at the Los Angeles motor show. It previews the firm's plans for a new headlining electric supercar, tipped as a replacement for the second-generation R8.
Speaking at the LA show, Audi exterior design chief Andreas Mindt says the design team are “absolutely pushing” the car for production, and were the “engine” in the company driving for it to be built.
However, the highly complex nature of the concept car means it’s not a simple decision as a simple yes or no on the 764bhp machine making production.
To preserve the concept’s central driving position, for example, Audi would need to develop a new drive-by-wire steering system, a huge cost in such a low volume car.
Cooling such a car also makes for a big engineering challenge, with Mindt dismissing it as a myth that electric cars didn’t need significant cooling systems.
The PB 18 e-tron was created in a joint design and engineering programme between the newly established Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California, and Audi Sport in Neckarsulm, Germany, in what is billed as a vision for the “high-performance supercar of tomorrow”.
As well as providing a pointer to how Audi envisages its supercar of the future will look, the car hints at plans by the brand to adopt the latest in solid-state battery technology as a means to radically reduce weight and improve the packaging of its upcoming e-tron models. Together with a body constructed of aluminium, carbonfibre and plastic composite materials, the four-wheel-drive PB18 e-tron is claimed to weigh less than 1550kg.
Mindt added that he believes the future of supercars to be electric, and thinks they have great potential for racing, too
Audi PB18 e-tron: future-thinking design
The PB18 e-tron draws on the styling lineage first established on the Audi Aicon concept revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, albeit with a more dramatic cab-forward silhouette. An extended cockpit incorporates tapered rear side windows and a large rear window that together hint at the look of a modern-day shooting brake.
Key elements within the design include a heavily structured front end featuring a bold hexagon-shaped grille and large air ducts, as well as thin ‘laser’ headlights and a prominent splitter designed to direct air evenly across a flat undertray.
Further back, the PB18 e-tron has large front wheel arches, ultra wide sills and cooling ducts within the leading edge of the rear wheels. The wide track stance is further emphasised by large, 22in wheels, each featuring eight asymmetric spokes intended to resemble turbine inlets, and shod with 275/35-profile front and 35/30-profile rear tyres.