After the last model was cancelled in near-production form — despite years of testing and R&D — the R8 e-tron was never a sure thing for this generation.
Audi is indeed selling this new R8 EV to customers — with orders taken later this year.
Performance is quite slow versus the Tesla Model S. The R8 e-tron hums its way to 62-mph in 3.9-seconds before hitting a Vmax of just 153-mph. Overall range when driven gently is more than 250 miles.
The design is massaged nicely with a grille inset in carbon-fiber, added lower bumper detailing and an extra LED element forming a vertical line in the edges of the nose.
Slight tweaks to the side blade intake and a sharper rear spoiler are the other big e-tron changes.
Oh, did we forget the solid wheels and the absolutely hideous, revolting whitewall tires?
Absolute nightmare. Who chose whitewall tires, and why? Disgusting.
Overall, the R8 e-tron will be an extremely rare and extremely pricey upgrade over the gasoline R8. Double the price for half the performance?
Perhaps 100 of the R8 e-trons will find homes starting in Spring 2016.
Despite being silly, the R8 e-tron does have one big asset in its favor: it is the only rear-drive R8.
A Spyder version of the EV might be interesting.
2016 Audi R8 e-tron
Electrified: Audi R8 e-tron
The second generation of the Audi R8 forms the basis for two more models. Audi has made major engineering developments in its high-performance electric sports car, the R8 e-tron. The latest evolution of the vehicle takes up the multimaterial Audi Space Frame from the new series-production model.
The supporting structure was enhanced by a CFRP rear-section module comprising the luggage compartment. The walls of the CFRP luggage compartment well are corrugated. This way, in the event of a rear-end collision, more energy can be absorbed despite the reduced material weight.
Thanks to targeted modifications to the outer shell and on the wheels, the Audi R8 e‑tron achieves an aerodynamic drag coefficient (cd) value of 0.28. In terms of performance and range, the car enters entirely new dimensions.
The large T-shaped battery is structurally integrated into the center tunnel and behind the occupant cell – optimally positioned in the car. It supports the dynamics of the R8 e-tron with its low center of gravity. Audi produces the high-voltage battery itself, for the first time based on a newly developed lithium-ion technology which was specially conceived for a purely electric vehicle drive. In comparison to the first technology platform, the battery capacity has grown from 49 kWh to approximately 92 kWh. This progress was possible without changing the package.
The R8 e-tron achieves an electric range of 450 kilometers (279.6 mi) instead of a previous 215 kilometers (133.6 mi) with an energy density that has been increased from 84 Wh/kg to 154 Wh/kg and some other modifications to the car. The electrically powered high-performance sports car has the Combined Charging System (CCS) on board, which allows charging with direct and alternating current. Using this system, it is possible to fully charge the battery in significantly less than two hours.
The power is now twice 170 kW and the maximum torque twice 460 Nm (339.3 lb-ft). The R8 e-tron accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds on its way to an electronically restricted top speed of 210 km/h (130.5 mph) or 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Intelligent energy management and an electromechanical brake system enable high energy recuperation rates. Targeted torque vectoring – needs-based distribution of power transmission between the rear wheels – ensures maximum stability and dynamism.
Audi uses the electrical high-performance sports car primarily as a mobile high-tech laboratory. Accordingly, the findings from the R8 e-tron help in creating a vehicle with a sedan character. Upon customer request, the R8 e-tron will be available for order in 2015 as an electrically powered sports car in supreme hand-built quality.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.