Regardless though, Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards and requirements in states like California have mandated some zero emissions vehicles. Also, Audi has a reputation for investments in technology. Thus, Audi instituted the e-tron program. Various concepts in this program have been introduced, such as the R8 e-Tron. Many industry insiders expected the program to be approved for a limited production, with an arrival date of early next year. Car and Driver now reports that Audi’s research and development boss Wolfgang Durheimer has put the program under a “review.” The VW Group is in a cash savings mode due to problems in the European market. That is causing non-essential programs (such as the Bentley EXP 9F and Lamborghini Urus SUVs) to be curtailed.
The R8 e-tron is one of them getting the axe. Durheimer’s concerns include a lack of batteries to power the car at a reasonable price, as well as a lack of sales. The R8 e-tron would be very expensive, and have a limited range to boot. Both factors limit sales significantly. Given this, Car & Driver expects the program to be cancelled for production. The mules we’ve seen so far ar for evaluation purposes as the company learns about electrics. This news comes as the R8 e-tron’s expected launch date is nearing. Audi’s move follows a similar reduction in scope of electric vehicle efforts at Toyota. The dreadful (in range anyway) Scion iQ has now been limited to 50 vehicles in the United States, all destined for car sharing services. Only Tesla, which has taken great pains to produce a truly top-notch pure electric vehicle, has experienced heavy demand. For those looking forward to an electric Audi though, the latest word on the street is that the A3 e-tron is headed for series production – for now anyway.
Higher end automotive are always under the test of social ideals and economic factors. Emerging as a challenge for future auto industry is limiting environmental impact. The reality of incorporating for fuel-efficient products into future vehicle line-ups is causing all luxury carmakers to envision their brand images much different forms.
While Mercedes-Benz allows the Smart car to advertise some type of more urban-directed content, BMW has most recently pressed the start of their electrified vehicle-oriented BMW i sub brand into the 2014 model year. For the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, American car company Cadillac explored more conservative proportions with their Urban Luxury Concept. In these cases, the premium carmakers, often challenged to prove their vehicles to be the best examples in the world, has risen to the occasion building smaller, lighter, fuel-efficient designs while preserving the best of their brand identity. Entering itself in a position to best what the world premium car industry has to offer, Audi will show up the latest edition in their e-tron electric vehicles in the smallest possible shape. Debuting a practical two-passenger concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show upcoming in September, the Audi Urban Concept car launches Audi onto an all-new wave of thought.
Existing in such a small confide the Urban Concept vehicle appears brilliantly relay common Audi exterior qualities. Though actual dimensions are not defined at this time, the Audi Urban Concept is certain to measure as one of the smallest design concept ever conceived by the Germany luxury brand. Likely to be more aesthetic than functional, the large simple front grille opening boldly holds the Audi rings. Primarily light silver exterior in the images issued by Audi, the Urban Concept is accented by a red stripe traveling upwards along each side of the vehicle. Massive 21-inch wheels complete the Audi Urban Concept further enhancing the sense of smallness for the design study.
Audi has been one of the leading auto brands in the implementation of lightweight technology throughout their product line. Relying on the properties of aluminum in creating the structure of current production vehicles, Audi ventures into design exploration with carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) creating the small Urban Concept car. The use of CFRP applied to the small vehicle should guarantee a relatively feather-light existence compared to production cars.
Powerplant has only been announced as featuring two electric motors propelled by energy stored in a lithium-ion battery. Benefiting from Audi’s e-tron program, the range and speed of the Audi Urban Concept was yet to be provided ahead of the unveiling at Frankfurt.
Opening up the interior through the movement of a single panel, the Audi Urban Concept introduces an interesting cabin layout. Called a 1+1 seat vehicle, the passenger sits slightly further back than the driver‘s position. Providing the passenger with a performance feel, the design should also be helpful in furnishing a greater field of view to the driver of the Audi Urban Concept.
Audi fans and small car enthusiasts can expect more information on the Urban Concept design to be revealed at the Frankfurt exhibit.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Audi’s e-Tron Electric Supercar Concept made a big splash at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and as a result, Audi has plans to move forward with their plans to build electric cars. The first car to be built is a sort of “mini-R8” roadster supercar to compete with the Tesla Roadster called the R4.
The Audi R4 is expected to have a similar one-motor-per-wheel layout as the e-Tron Concept, and since it will be using the e-Tron’s powertrain, will likely produce the same 313 horsepower and incredible 3,319 lb-ft of torque, which will propel the car from 0 to 60 mph in around 4.8 seconds. The production R4 will likely be accompanied by gasoline-powered variants, most likely using the Audi TT-RS‘s 335 hp 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo engine.
The Audi R4, based o nthe above renderings, is very sharp-looking, taking design cues from the e-Tron Concept but moving away from the R8 shape into a more production-likely body style. The jagged C-shaped LED headlights look especially menacing, and of course we see the signature Audi grille up front.
The R4 roadster will probably sit on a modified version of Porsche’s next generation Boxster and Cayman platform, meaning the R4 will be smaller than the R8 supercar but larger than the Audi TT. Price is far from being announced, but consider the electric version of the R4 to compete with the Tesla Roadster, which starts at around $110,000. Expect to see the production R4 on the road as early as 2012.
We’ve been publishing any information we got about the new electric Audi e-Tron Concept supercar, and today Audi officially unveiled the car, along with plenty of details. It is, as you can see, based off of the R8, but underneath the body is its own car completely.
The e-tron concept is fully electric – no internal combustion engine is present, meaning it’s not a hybrid. As you know from seeing cars such as the Tesla Roadster and the Lightning GT, a fully electric car is a good candidate for high performance due to the massive amounts of torque available from zero RPMs, and the e-tron is no different. While it only produces 313 horsepower, the electric motors produce an incredible 3,319 lb-ft of torque. No, that’s not a typo. For contrast, a Lamborghini Murcielago V12 engine “only” produces 479 lb-ft. These numbers allow the e-tron to accelerate from 0-120 km/h (0-62 mph) in only 4.8 seconds, and even more impressively, 60-120 km/h (37-75 mph) in 4.1 seconds. Sadly, top speed is limited to 124 mph since going any faster would result in a serious drain on the battery.
The battery, which sits behind the passenger compartment for optimal 42:58 weight distribution, has a range of 154 miles. Not perfect, but it’s a start. The e-tron concept consists of four electric motors, one on each wheel, for a true quattro system, allowing the car to distribute torque to each wheel accordingly. They call it “torque vectoring,” and it will allow the e-tron to corner like nothing you’ve ever seen. Under normal conditions, 70% of torque will be routed to the rear wheels until torque rerouting is necessary.
One cool feature in the e-tron concept that Audi is already developing is called “car-to-x communication.” This allows the car to “talk” to external sources. For example, in the car, you could receive information about traffic light cycle times and flow of traffic to optimize your driving strategy. How this works exactly I don’t know, but expect to hear more out of Audi regarding this technology, as they’re already working on it through their travolution project.
The futuristic e-tron receives plenty of other tech, such as LEDs used in all lighting units, including all-LED headlights (already seen in the R8 Spyder.) The headlights on the e-tron are unique, however, in that they adapt automatically to the environment, providing optimal lighting for rain, fog, etc and detects oncoming traffic, driving lanes, and visibility with an on-board camera. The camera will detect oncoming traffic and turn off the brights, for example, or detect an upcoming turn and illuminate it for maximum visibility.
Since the e-tron concept is fully electric, it requires you to plug it in when it needs charging, taking about 6 to 8 hours from standard household current. A high voltage unit will be available, which reduces charging time to only 2.5 hours from fully discharged to fully charged. Audi is also working on a wireless charging system which would make it more convenient, automatically charging the car when it’s docked in your garage. The e-tron concept also uses regenerative braking, charging the batteries when you brake, much like current hybrid models.
The e-tron concept car is a great addition to the few electric sports cars already on the market, and from the looks of things, it will blow them all away. No word on production date or cost – it’s just a concept for now.
Check out the photo gallery and video below: