Audi are planning on launching a limited run of the R8 e-tron quattro EV in 2012. We have video of the R8 e-tron cruising in California.
Audi first revealed its electric car project at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September last year with the R8 e-tron, an electric car based on the R8 and featuring four electric motors creating a quattro EV. Audi then went on to reveal their second e-tron at the Detroit Motor Show – the Audi R4 e-tron – which seems to preview a new R4 model from Audi and finally the latest – and most convincing e-tron – the Audi A1 e-tron at the Geneva Motor Show last week.
But so far we’ve not seen any of the e-trons on the move. Audi admit that despite some ludicrous claims for the torque figures on the R8 e-tron (which they’re still repeating in this VT), the car they showed at Frankfurt couldn’t actually function under its own steam. But with confirmation that the R8 e-tron is to go in to limited production in 2012 it was quite important to get the e-tron on the move, literally as well as in the sense of moving it to production.
And Audi do now have a working prototype of the R8 e-tron which they’ve been out playing with on the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Realistically the R8 e-tron is never going to be anything other than an experiment to show what can be done, even if Audi do intend building a limited run to sell to people who just must have an EV sports car.
The real future for the e-tron is in the guise of the A1 e-tron, where sensible performance and usability in cities is augmented by a range extending Wankel engine. It shows just how practical and useful an electric car can be in urban environments. But that’s the only place an electric car will ever really work.
The R8 e-tron is a vanity product with no real world applications. But it works. And it looks good. And we have a video.
Audi R8 e-tron California Cruising Video