Crown Jakarta Capital eco Management News: Audi R8 e-tron
Posted in the Fullerton Forum
Since: Jun 13
#1 Jun 6, 2013
Silent supercar is out of this world to drive, out of reach to consumers.
The $64,000 question for Audi is not why it decided to can the R8 e-tron, but by what extent the electric supercar was considered to be economically unfeasible.
Its a question many have pondered and sought explanation for following the German brands 11th-hour decision to scrap its on-again, off-again concept.
Not surprisingly, Audi has kept that cost well hidden from public view. Revealing such details would convey the gap car makers need to bridge before the electric car can truly become relevant as a real-world performance tool.
All we know is that the margin is fairly big in the words of Audi board member Axel Strotbek which is an awful shame because, notwithstanding the financial constraints, the R8 e-tron is a brilliant machine.
Drive this week sampled one of 10 R8 e-tron prototypes at the closed Templehof airport in Berlin.
Reportedly each of them cost more than 1 million ($AUD1.35 million) to create, the 10 concept cars were essentially road-ready versions fitted with mod cons like cruise control and a functional instrument cluster.
The 1788kg e-tron is capable of sprinting to 100km/h in a blistering 4.2 seconds, calling on 280kW and a walloping 820Nm of torque to straddle occupants to a top limited speed of 200km/h.
The reserves of power come courtesy of two 140kW electric motors - one mounted to each rear wheel - supplying an electric range of about 50km under enthusiastic driving and up to 170km in conservative settings.
There are three driving modes, as well as other intuitive functions like Audis e-torque vectoring system and multi-staged power recuperation process (well get to those in a minute).
The e-tron looks strikingly similar to the V8 and V10 version R8s; however there are only nine common parts shared between the petrol and electric variants all related to the two doors and their surrounding architecture.
The e-tron R8 gets a carbon fibre panel in place of the standard rear window and calls on a specially mounted camera on that panel to act as a rear view mirror. Inside, the batteries are laid out to mimic a standard transmission tunnel, while also lowering the cars centre of gravity.
Theres a small, silver start button near the gear selector. Once pushed, the car emits a grumbling, synthesised sound from four speakers mounted under the exterior.
Floor the accelerator and the R8 blasts out of the blocks, utilising seemingly infinite reserves of torque from the get-go. The acoustics are incredible; almost like a golf buggy on peptides.
The acceleration is brutal and linear and although the lack of gears took some getting used to, the level of punch didnt wane up until the 115km/h that the tight circuit allowed. Accelerator feel was well proportioned for an electric car, too.
Despite weighing in 210kg heavier than the standard R8, the e-tron boasts amazing agility through corners. Corrections in front-end scrub (understeer) can be easily made by easing off the accelerator, while the super sharp steering allows you to make swift changes in direction with pinpoint accuracy.
All the while, the R8 is utilising its torque vectoring technology, which works by transferring power to the outside wheels during cornering. The function is non-existent in efficiency driving mode, but can be used to great effect in automatic and dynamic modes, where the cars engine maps and steering feel sharpen accordingly.
Sliding out of bends is more permissible once the stability control is switched to sport mode.
Audi engineers have shed an additional 23kg from the chassis of the standard R8, utilising features like glass-fibre reinforced springs which weigh only 1.5kgs to help disguise the 577kg worth of lithium-ion batteries on board.
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