At the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi unveiled the R8 e-tron Concept. The Audi R8 e-tron received a lot of attention with stellar technical specs that include four electric motors – two each at the front and rear axles – producing 313-hp and a maximum torque of 3,319 lb-ft of torque (501.5 lb-ft in real world terms). That allows it to run from 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 124 mph. Driving range of the R8 e-tron comes in at 154 miles on a full charge.
In June 2010, Audi quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm was chosen to produce the R8 e-tron as a small-series production. A year later the R8 e-tron won the Silvretta E-Auto Rally. The two-seater beat 23 other electric cars in the three-day race covering 104 miles.
Specially qualified engineers are borrowing from the series production of the successful Audi R8 mid-engine sports car as they assemble the R8 e-tron at the development workshop and are now providing us an inside-look at the production of the first electric-car from Audi.
“With the R8 e-tron, we are showing how inspiring electric mobility can be. Every system in this car has been tuned for maximum performance and range,” says Franciscus van Meel, Head of Electric Mobility Strategy at AUDI AG. “The R8 e-tron is a very important project for Audi because the competence and experience we glean from it will later flow into the large volume production of electric automobiles.” The expectation is that e-tron will become a synonym for advanced electric mobility, just as the term “quattro” today stands for pioneering all-wheel drive. “We want to be the leading premium manufacturer of electric vehicles by 2020,” says van Meel.
Audi said that it is investing more than €5 billion in the two German sites at Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm between 2011 and 2015 for the development of new vehicles and into future technologies such as electric and hybrid drive systems.
Audi will build only 1,000 units of the R8 e-tron, which will go on sale in select markets by the end of 2012 (U.S. is one of them).
– By: Omar Rana