Audi announces plan to develop an electric supercar

Article by Christian A., on June 22, 2017

Audi’s all-electric supercar, the R8 e-tron, had been discontinued last October after being in the market for under two years. The electric vehicle was then exclusive to the European market and was being sold for a base price of €1 million ($1.1 million). Yup, a million for an electric car. Price may be the primary reason why only less than 100 examples were delivered, according to the automaker. But I’m guessing perhaps it was too early for its time back then, we will never know.

Peter Mertens, former Volvo R&D boss and the new head of development at Audi, recently hinted that the R8 e-tron may have a successor sooner than we expected, as he spoke to Car and Driver magazine. He stated that he is willing to fill the gap that the R8 e-tron created.

During the 2017 Formula E race held in Berlin, he told journalists “You can very well imagine that at some point we will have an electric supercar”. He was probably referring to the said model when he said that. He even stated that he would develop it sooner and that it is already part of his plan. Though he did not share any more details, he assured the journalists that a brand like Audi will definitely come up with a supercar to make things more interesting, and “it is a segment in which we have been playing, we have been a very serious player”.

So, since we heard those words from the company’s head of development himself, then it definitely isn’t a rumour. It’s just a matter of how soon “soon” is for him.

The company aims to provide vehicles that are distinctly electric, and not just electrified versions of existing ICE models. So we shouldn’t be expecting an R8 with an electric powertrain, but something completely new and one that we have not seen yet from Audi - a completely new machine. Mertens also said in his interview that the EV could feature an 800-volt charging system - that alone costs so much! Therefore, the company still needs to evaluate whether people will be willing to pay extra on the bill. But he is confident that the market for sports cars will be lucrative, undoubtedly.

Having said all that, Mertens then revealed that they are looking into hardcore versions of the upcoming e-tron models, which probably means an e-tron S or an e-tron RS supercar. To what extent can a supercar be more hardcore?

After Mertens’ statement, a lot of readers will probably tune into Audi’s reports, and will definitely watch out for the R8 e-tron’s successor.

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