It is pretty well known what happened to the R8 E-Tron, an electric supercar that had an extremely short life cycle during which less than 100 were ever made at more than $1 million a pop. However, it seems unlikely that Audi is giving up on Electric supercars. Audi showed up to this year’s Pebble Beach with a bunch of objectives, which include making hatchbacks cool, making electric cars cool, and making centered driving positions cool (again), and it did it all with the Audi PB 18 E-Tron super hatchback thing. The all-electric Audi PB 18 E-Tron presents a radical vision for the high-performance sports car of the future.
The electric supercar positions the driver in the center of the vehicle. But the driver actually enters the vehicle on the left-hand side like any production vehicle. Once seated, the driver, dash cluster, steering wheel, and pedals automatically move towards the center of the car all thanks to the “drive by wire” system. Steering, accelerator, and braking are controlled by the computer rather than mechanical components. Though made typically in the racing car model, the car can be configured to have two seats, without, however, changing the driver’s seat. And the best part is the hatchback where you can put your luggage and go out for a weekend trip in startling speed.
When the driver’s monocoque is slid into the side position, from where the Audi PB 18 E-Tron can be steered in everyday driving like a conventional road vehicle, there is room for a passenger. An additional seat can be accessed on the other side – integrated low above the ground and equipped with a three-point seatbelt.
Gael Buzyn is Head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu – where the Audi PB 18 E-Tron was born.
He describes the most important item in the specifications: “We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18. That’s why we developed the interior around the ideal driver’s position in the center. Nevertheless, our aim was to also give the Audi PB 18 e-tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver, but also for a potential passenger. – Gael Buzyn, Head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu
Audi claims the PB18 concept has a mid-mounted 95 kWh battery pack good for around 670 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, the car gets three electric motors – one powering the front axle and one each for the rear wheels and the car can temporarily boost power to as much as 764 hp. The trusted Automobile company promises a transition from 0 to 62Mph in around 2 seconds and that’s jaw-dropping to say the least. The supercar has an estimated range of 310 miles on the European WLTP cycle, charged by the same 800-volt charging technology that the upcoming Porsche Taycan and Aston Martin RapidE are said to use.
Audi PB18 E-Tron is a concept at this stage with no word about a possible production model, but it goes to show performance EVs have a future and sooner or later we’ll actually be able to buy these – hopefully without having to pay $1 million.