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R8, Q7 e-tron a step closer to Australia

Power up: Audi's R8 e-tron is all about performance but has some range boosting features such as aerodynamic wheels, low resistance tyres and a friction coefficient of 0.28.

Audi's potent R8 e-tron electric supercar to be more P1 than Prius


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14 Aug 2015

AUDI Australia is a step closer to signing off on the e-tron version of its mighty R8 supercar, but while the recent A3 e-tron sets out to lower fuel and emissions use, the pure-electric R8 will be all about performance, according to the German brand.

The R8 e-tron can run for up to 450km with zero emissions, but like its V10 petrol-powered siblings, the electric version is a performance-focused car with 340kw of power, a hearty 920Nm of torque and zero to 100km/h acceleration of 3.9 seconds.

Speaking at the launch of the new Audi Sport brand and a sneak preview of the second-generation R8 V10+, Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle told GoAuto the all-electric version would not be a soft option.

“I've not driven the car myself but I've heard it's quite an incredible amount of performance, but yes it would sell more on performance,” he said.

“No confirmation yet but obviously we take pretty much all product we can for Audi Sport so if and when there was an opportunity we would certainly look at it.” Audi's approach to use performance-focused electric technology rather than a more efficiency-geared solution is similar to that of McLaren and its vicious P1, or the Tesla Model S P85D, which can crack 100km/h from zero in 3.0 seconds.

With only a handful of exterior differences to the V10 version, the e-tron is significantly different under its skin, with a pair of motors on the rear axle bringing 170kW and 460Nm each.

Power is provided for the motors by a T-shaped lithium-ion battery comprised of 52 separate liquid cooled modules, and has a beefy capacity of 90.3 kWh.

Charging takes “well under two hours” says Audi and the process is remotely controllable via a smartphone application.

Audi has only just launched its first hybrid model with the A3 e-tron Sportback hatch going on sale last month and, while it is too early to gauge its reception, Mr Doyle said the car served an important role in familiarising customers with the technology.

“It's early days with the A3 e-tron and it's a communication process because the beauty of that car is it is extraordinarily normal,” he said. “It looks normal but it does extraordinary things in terms of efficiency. It does pave the way for e-tron in the future.” At this stage, that future holds an e-tron version of the imminent Q7 large SUV, which is diesel-powered for now. While exact timing is yet to be confirmed, Mr Doyle said “we're pretty excited about that,” given the popularity of the Q7 and big high-riders generally.

The Q7 3.0 TDI goes on sale in September and the e-tron version is expected next year.

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