Audi is planning to return to the electric scene with a two-door super sports car, more powerful than any other model in the range: the Audi R8 electric.
There was a time, not so long ago, when electric cars were starting to show their face. And some of the significant carmakers wanted to get into the market prematurely by electrifying some of their most prestigious models. And sporty. That’s how Mercedes unveiled the SLS AMG Electric Drive ten years ago at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. With 751 horsepower and 1000 Nm of torque, the numbers were incredible at the time. Three years later, in 2015, it was Audi that revealed its R8 e-Tron.
The problem with these two models? A market that wasn’t ripe for electricity, a technology we didn’t know would hit the market so quickly, and most importantly, an exorbitant price tag. The SLS AMG Electric Drive was over 400,000 dollars. On the other hand, the Audi was close to a million euros. As a result, only nine of the 100 cars that were supposed to be produced will leave the factory. The second one did not reach 100 units sold.
Since then, electric cars have been everywhere, and the traditional carmakers’ ranges are electrifying at lightning speed. So much so that Audi would not be against the return of a zero-emission R8.
The Audi R8 electric chases the combustion engine
But there is something new. Autocar’s English readers have been told by sources inside the company that an electric super-sports car is on its way back. With a launch that would not be so far away as we are already talking about the middle of the decade or about 2025. It must be said that the current Audi R8, which is in its second generation, could bow out within a year, as early as 2023.
From what we’ve learned, if we’re talking about a spiritual descendant of the R8, it should neither be called R8 nor even look like an R8. The only thing it would have in common is that it would be a two-door model, purely sporty and more potent than any other vehicle in the range.
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The Audi R8 electric: ONE SPORTS CAR, THREE PLATFORMS
Within the Volkswagen group, several options already exist to accommodate such a sports car without starting entirely from scratch. We’re talking about platforms and chassis that this future “R8” could use. We are starting with the existing one, which is used on the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron GT, which answers to the sweet name of “J1”.
But suppose the choice of a platform used by Porsche would be more than likely, mainly to rely on the expertise of the Stuttgart firm in sports cars. In that case, it could also be that Audi opts for the next one on which SUVs and sedans of the brand will be developed, namely the SSP Sport, a kind of all-purpose platform in the Volkswagen galaxy.
Finally, another solution would be to wait for the other electric platform that will have the heavy task of supporting the successors of the electric Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster. Its particularity? Allowing the batteries to be stacked vertically behind the seats to reproduce the layout of the engine in the combustion models and thus have an ideal weight distribution. This could also fit very well with an electric R8 if Audi wants to reproduce the rear central layout of the V10 but with the batteries.
IS A FACTORY ALREADY READY?
The transition from the Audi R8 thermal to the one called the Audi R8 electric could be done relatively softly, in that the current sports car is assembled (by hand) in the Audi Sport factory of Böllinger Höfe in Germany. The same place where the e-Tron GT and RS e-Tron GT are made. With teams that are already trained in electricity.
On the other hand, Audi would like to keep the artisanal touch in the design and assembly of the next super sports car, precisely what production in this factory can bring, with teams already sensitized.
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AN OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY
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As a reminder, the Audi R8 is still in the catalog but exclusively powered by a V10 engine. It develops 610 horsepower in its four-wheel-drive version and drops to 570 horsepower for those who want to try the single-drive version.
For the moment, nothing has been leaked about what might power Audi’s future electric sports car, which will no doubt depend on the platform chosen. Among other things. One thing is for sure, though, and that is that the future sports car should make you forget the technical sheet of its spiritual ancestor from 2015, the R8 e-Tron: 92 kWh lithium-ion battery, four electric motors in the wheels, 462 horsepower, 3.9 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, 249 km/h top speed and 450 km of range.