The latest version of the Audi R8 e-tron was unveiled last month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Shanghai and has come a long way since it was debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The zero-emissions supercar has been designed to showcase technology for Audi’s future, including a special lightweight design and systems that allow it to drive like a high-performance car despite only being powered by batteries.
The latest concept of the all-electric supercar has taken advancements to the next level, introducing Audi’s Piloted Driving technology, which offers self-driving capabilities that use a range of sensors to drive more efficiently. Audi can build the car ‘to meet special customer requests’ but its main job is as a ‘high-tech mobile laboratory’, trying out technologies that will eventually make it to production vehicles.
It acquires data from a multitude of sensors as well as several video cameras, which is then handed over to Audi’s zFAS central driver assistance control unit, a compact central computer, which uses the data to create a comprehensive image of the environment around the car. The car can then use that information to drive itself, helping the car use the battery even more efficiently.
The R8 e-tron can cover 276 miles between charges and charging it can take as little as two hours using a rapid charging point, as a result of the Combined Charging System (CCS), which allows charging with both direct and alternating current.
All-electric Audi R8 e-tron is capable of 0 – 62mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 155mph. The manufacturer’s own T-shaped battery pack sits along the spine of the car and behind the seats, lowering the centre of gravity. The two electric motors on the rear axle produce a total of 456bhp and 920Nm, funnelled through a single speed transmission, whilst full torque vectoring enhances the car’s dynamic abilities.
The R8 e-tron shares a chassis and many design and construction elements with the non-electric R8, including carbon fibre-reinforced plastics to keep the car light but very secure and the interior is much the same, featuring a luxurious, high specification finish.
Visually differentiated from the regular R8, the e-tron features a front grille partially blanked out with a carbon fibre insert. At the rear, flush-fitting trim sits where the exhausts and diffuser would normally be. The almost fully covered aero-focused wheels feature carbon fibre inserts in the apertures that close at speeds over 31mph, reducing drag. Below that speed, they open again, allowing more air to flow over the carbon-ceramic disc brakes. The slimmer tyres also help to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
The Audi R8 e-tron with its supreme hand-built quality will be available to order from late 2015 onwards – the future could be faster than you think.