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Audi previews possible battery-electric supercar

Racecar-inspired PB18 e-tron concept could herald zero-emission Audi R8 successor

Audi logo24 Aug 2018

AUDI has officially revealed the battery-electric PB18 e-tron supercar, a racecar-inspired concept that could preview a zero-emission successor to its V10-powered second-generation R8 flagship.
 
Revealed at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey County, California, the 1550kg PB18 e-tron produces 500kW of power – or up to 570kW on overboost – and 830Nm of torque, enabling a sprint from standstill to 100km/h “in just over two seconds”, according to the German brand.
 
The PB18 e-tron is motivated by three electric motors, with one unit delivering 150kW to the front axle, while the other two units output 350kW to each of the rear wheels.
 
As such, an electrified version of Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system is employed, headlined by the Torque Control Manager that works with the electronic stability control to actively distribute power to either axle on demand.
 
Furthermore, the PB18 e-tron’s 95kWh battery pack uses liquid-cooled solid-state technology to provide more than 500 kilometres of driving range on the WLTP cycle.
 
With support for a charging voltage of 800 volts, the marque says the PB18 e-tron can be fully recharged in about 15 minutes. It also can be wirelessly charged via induction technology.
 
Moreover, the PB18 e-tron can also be charged via regenerative braking, which uses the electric motors to bring it to a complete stop when decelerating moderately. Hydraulic brakes are only used when brake pressure is heavy.
 
The independent suspension on both axle’s lower and upper transverse control arms consists of a motorsport-derived push-rod set-up up front and a pull-rod system at the rear. Adaptive magnetic shock absorbers are found on either end.
 
Rolling on eight-spoke 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in a mixed set of tyres (275/35 front, 315/30 rear), the PB18 e-tron features 19-inch carbon-ceramic brake discs.
 
Measuring 4530mm long, 2000mm wide and 1150mm tall with a 2700mm wheelbase, the PB18 e-tron owes its light weight to a mix of aluminium, carbon and multi-material composites.
 
The front end is punctuated by LED Matrix headlights with laser high-beam technology, as well as a wide, pinched version of the signature Singleframe grille without an insert.
 
However, the side profile’s resemblance to the current R8 does not translate over to the chunky rear end, which is headlined by its adjustable diffuser, horizontal tail-lights and extending spoiler.
 
Inside, an inner monocoque shell moves laterally and houses the cockpit and driver’s seat. It can be centrally positioned or moved to either side to accommodate a passenger, thanks to the by-wire set-up of the steering and pedals that requires no mechanical connection.
 
The cockpit features an OLED digital instrument cluster that can adapt to the driving conditions, whether on the racetrack or road, while a complementary head-up display is located above.
 
Styled as a coupe-cum-wagon shooting brake, the PB18 e-tron offers 470 litres of cargo capacity – significantly more than a traditional supercar.
 
The PB18 e-tron’s nameplate refers to the location and year of the concept’s reveal, while it is also a reference to car-maker’s LMP1 racecar, the R18 e-tron, which has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
Audi has tried its hand at a battery-electric supercar before with an e-tron version of the original R8 that was revealed in production form at the Geneva motor show in March 2015, but less than 100 units were ever sold.

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