Audi R8 E-tron Won't Make It to Production


  • Audi R8 E-tron Picture

    Audi R8 E-tron Picture

    Audi confirms its R8 E-tron electric sports car won't make it to production. | May 29, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Audi confirms its R8 E-tron electric sports car won't make it to production.
  • But the company adds, "All Audi production developments will now benefit from the expertise acquired throughout this project."
  • The R8 E-tron was displayed at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, with a predecessor — the original E-tron — first unveiled in Frankfurt in 2009.

HERNDON, Virginia — Reversing an earlier plan, Audi said its R8 E-tron electric sports car project won't make the cut for production, citing the high cost of batteries and high-voltage components, among other factors.

Beyond a handful of development cars that it has built and tested over the past several years, "there will be no further R8 E-tron," the company said in a statement.

"We are moving more toward a plug-in hybrid direction than a battery electric for the immediate future," said Audi of America spokesman Brad Stertz in an e-mail response to an Edmunds.com query.

When the original E-tron electric sports car was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Audi executives said they planned to build and sell an all-electric version of the R8. A more production-ready variant was displayed at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

"As a high-tech beacon project, the R8 E-tron fulfilled its purpose," Audi said. "Its development accelerated the advancement of various electric-vehicle components."

Audi said some of the EV components "will soon be seen in high-volume models such as the A3 Sportback E-tron," a plug-in hybrid compact that is slated for production late this year.

Audi uses the E-tron sub-brand to denote "electrified" vehicles, from the tiny A1 E-tron subcompact to the mighty R18 E-tron Quattro endurance racecar.

The most recent version of the R8 E-tron featured two electric motors, with a combined 280 kW of power and 605 pound-feet of torque, driving the rear wheels. Audi quoted 0-62 acceleration in 4.2 seconds, with top speed limited to 124 mph. Driving range between charges was up to 135 miles.

Edmunds says: So far, only Tesla has figured out how to make money on electric sports cars.

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