Audi designers are working hard to make it happen – but putting the concept into production presents several challenges.
Audi’s much-anticipated e-tron GT concept finally made its debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show last week with the Tesla Model S firmly in its sights. But it wasn’t the only electric Audi E-Tron concept revealed this year. Back in the summer at Pebble Beach, Audi revealed the PB18 E-Tron, a driver-focused electric supercar concept that could preview the Audi R8’s future replacement. Audi hasn’t confirmed plans to put it into production, but designers are working hard to make it happen according to Autocar.
Speaking at the LA Auto Show, Audi exterior design chief Andreas Mindt told the publication the design team are “absolutely pushing” the car for production and were the “engine” in the company driving for it to be built. However, giving it the green light won’t be an easy decision for Audi as it would need to overcome several challenges to put the electric supercar concept into production.
The car’s central driving position, for example, would require Audi to develop a new drive-by-wire steering system. This would be very expensive and difficult to justify for a low-volume car. The cockpit’s unconventional design would also be difficult to implement in the production model. In the concept, the driver’s seat and dashboard can also be positioned in two ways: either to the left of the interior like a typical road car, or in the center, as in a traditional race car.
Mindt also said engineers would need to develop adequate cooling systems for the powerful all-electric powertrain. The concept was powered by three electric motors, with one mounted within the front axle delivering 201 hp and another two positioned on either side of the rear axle producing 234 hp each. This results in a combined output of 671 hp, but a boost function increases this to 764 hp for short bursts of acceleration.
With this setup, Audi claimed the PB18 E-Tron concept could sprint from 0-62 mph in two seconds and hit a top speed of over 186 mph. The PB18 E-Tron concept also uses solid-state batteries with a capacity of 95 kWh, but the technology is not yet ready for production.