- 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.