German carmaker Audi will replace its R8 supercar with an all-electric version that will be known as the RS e-tron and an asking price of just under €200,000 ($A330,000 at today’s rates) and will be available around 2023-2024.
It’s been known for at least a few months that the fossil fuel R8 has an uncertain future, as indicated by Audi CEO Bram Schott at the carmaker’s annual general meeting in May.
Now, according to senior sources inside Audi, the writing is now on the wall for the mid-engine R8 which Audi first introduced in 2006 and the latest variant of which is a top-of-the line, fossil-fuel devouring V10, 5204CC model that burns up to 17.1 litres of fuel per 100km.
It’s another step towards electrification and zero emissions technology for the German carmaker which was embroiled in the 2015 Dieselgate emissions scandal, but the RS e-tron will not be entirely made by Audi, according to the sources who shared the information with UK’s CAR magazine.
To avoid putting extra pressure on budgetary considerations, Audi intends to outsource the electric powertrain and battery development to Croation electric vehicle maker Rimac.
The automobile itself would be built at Audi’s Bollinger Höfe factory near Heilbronn where the A6, A7 and A8 are made, however the German carmaker intends to farm out the supply of the quad-motor powertrain for the RS e-tron, as well as solid state batteries.
Electric vehicles currently reply on lithium-ion technology for their power source (the same batteries used in laptops and mobile phones), however industry analysts say that solid state battery tech – which would be more energy dense and able to charge faster that current li-ion tech – could be ready for use by the auto industry sooner than you think.
According to the information leaked to CAR, Audi seems to think this could be within just a few years.
While no official specifications and details have been released by the German carmaker, sources from within Audi have told CAR that the RS e-tron may have a 95kWh solid state battery that could deliver 480km range (which would be smaller than current li-ion batteries delivering similar range, due to the higher energy density properties).
It may also have an all-wheel drive system with one electric motor for each wheel, with 700kW output in total, as well as an aluminium monocoque chassis and wireless charging.
It may also utilise many elements from the Porsche Taycan, which uses a platform known as J1, and would retain its two-seater status as well as its supercar aerodynamics, using “active aero assembly” to ensure a super low drag coefficient.
Sounds exciting – although nothing more than ideas for the time being, it is good to see Audi embracing electrification at all levels of auto development.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.