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Audi reportedly cuts back EV plans
Two future Audi EVs – the R8 e-tron and A2 – axed, according to European reports
7 Jan 2013
AUDI has reportedly axed two separate future electric cars – the A2 EV hatchback and R8 e-tron supercar – from its production plans.
UK publication Auto Express claimed last week that the production-ready R8 e-tron EV had been indefinitely delayed over concerns that customers were not ready to accept the limited range of pure electric cars.
The e-tron, a conceptual rival for the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive and the BMW i8 plug-in, posted an unofficial lap record for an electric car around the famed Nurburgring Nordschleife race circuit in Germany last July.
The ‘production’ e-tron used on the hot lap featured two electric motors, producing a combined 280kW of power and 820Nm of torque, giving 0-100km/h acceleration of just 4.6 seconds.
An Audi insider told Auto Express that technology developed for the potent EV would gradually filter through to models further down the range.
However, one future lower-end EV that looks unlikely to receive such technology is the electric version of the A2 hatch – the Ingolstadt marque’s answer to the tall-bodied BMW i3.
An aluminium-framed electric A2 was revealed in concept guise at the Frankfurt motor show in September and was scheduled for production from 2015 as both a pure EV and a plug-in hybrid.
Another British publication, Autocar, last week quoted a “highly placed” company source saying that both the A2 EV and hybrid variants had been canned, possibly in reaction to slower-than-projected sales of electric cars globally.
The Frankfurt concept was powered by an 85kW electric motor and was designed to deliver a range of close to 200km from the fully charged lithium-ion battery pack.
The lightweight construction was to have kept the target weight down to 1250kg – exceedingly trim considering the weight of the motor and the battery cells ‘sandwiched’ in the floor.
As GoAuto reported in September 2011, Audi pushed back the planned release of the A2 until around 2015 as it sorted through the disparate number of propulsion systems earmarked for the car.
These were thought to include regular fossil-fuelled engines (petrol/diesel), pure electric power, plug-in hybrid range-extender and even hydrogen fuel cell versions.
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