Audi revealed details of the R8 e-tron model on an article that was published in the latest issue of Encounter magazine. Audi hasn’t been shy about unveiling new details even as the automaker had suspended its development last October. In this article, Audi said that this car is a "hi-tech laboratory on wheels" which will aid in molding its "future series-production projects."
Audi doesn’t dare talk about why it failed to meet its planned 2012 launch. However, it confirmed that just nine exterior body parts (which include the doors, mirror housings and windshield crossmember) are shared with the standard production model. Because of this, the R8 e-tron has several bespoke components such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic body panels, one-of-a-kind LED taillights and distinctive side blades with illuminated "e-tron" badging.
In addition, the standard R8 has a drag coefficient of 0.35 but the R8 e-tron has just 0.27 which lengthens its range by about 40 km (25 miles). Its interior consists of a reworked cockpit with new instrumentation, a modified center console and a bespoke gear knob. It also features leather seats, carbon fiber trim, a digital rearview mirror and an MMI infotainment system with a seven-inch display.
It is powered by a 48.6 kWh lithium-ion battery that drives the two electric motors that offer a combined output of 381 HP (280 kW) and 820 Nm (605 lb-ft) of torque. With this set-up, the model (which weighs 1,780 kg or 3,924 lbs) is able to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph).
On a single charge, the vehicle can be driven as far as 215 km (134 miles). Recharging the battery takes about 12 hours on a 230V outlet. But a "high-performance DC charging device" is capable of replenishing the batteries in shorter than one hour. To aid in offsetting the model's 577 kg (1,272 lbs) battery pack, the car was equipped with several lightweight parts such as glass-fiber reinforced polymer springs, titanium wheel hubs and a CFRP/aluminum anti-roll bar.
Overall, the new Audi R8 e-tron has a weight of 1,780 kilograms (3,924.23 lbs), mainly thanks to the Multimaterial Space Frame – an evolution of its ultra lightweight construction technology. This technology – employing large parts made from carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) to supplement the aluminum frame – allowed the body structure, including the side sections, to weigh only 199 kg (438.72 lbs). This means that this body is lighter by 23 kg (50.71 lbs) than that of the R8 Coupé, which features the aluminum-based Audi Space Frame.
Metal parts and CFRP components account for 75 percent and 23 percent, respectively, of the weight of the body shell. Other materials account for the remaining two percent. While the forward structure is made mostly of aluminum, the occupant cell is made primarily of CFRP and the rear end employing both materials. Meanwhile, the CRFP supporting trunk insert features corrugated crash structures, allowing the rear module to absorb five times the energy that an aluminum lattice structure could. Audi employed a new sandwich concept on the B-posts and rear bulkhead, resulting to weight reduction of 11.5 kg (25.35 lbs).
Meanwhile, most of the Audi R8 e-tron’s outer skin is made of CFRP, and each part is suited to its position and purpose. For instance, particular zones of the front lid have seven layers of matted carbon fiber while the inner shells of the rear side sections feature two layers with non-woven material.