Audi will not sell the R8 e-tron due to battery technology

Article by Christian A., on May 28, 2013

Although it sounded like a brilliant idea it appears that the R8 e-Tron electric sports car won’t make it into production. According to Autocar, Audi confirmed the fact that it was no plans to sell the all-electric R8. Audi built 10 of the latest design R8 e-Tron but it will use then exclusively for internal testing and developing new technologies.

These models won’t reach the customers, as Audi is not satisfied by the technology incorporated in the battery. Moreover, the costs are also a big problem because the price of the batteries didn’t fall as much as Audi forecast. Audi didn’t want to accept a limited range and a long charging time, as these are what batteries offer currently.

For those who don’t know, the Audi R8 e-Tron is able to hit 62 mph or 100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds and has a top speed electronically limited to 124.27 mph (200 km/h). In optimal conditions, the Audi R8 e-Tron has a range of 133.59 miles or 215 km. The R8 e-Tron is supplied with energy by a large 48.6 battery, develops 280 kW (380 hp) and 820 Nm (604.80 lb-ft) of torque.

Interestingly, the new Audi R8 e-tron has a weight of only 1,780 kilograms (3,924.23 lbs). Its body structure -- including the side sections – has a weight of around 199 kilograms (438.72 lbs). This means that the body of the R8 e-tron is 23 kilograms (50.71 lbs) lighter than the R8 Coupé. Incidentally, its lightweight nature is attributed to its aluminum-based ASF principle (Audi Space Frame).

But for the Audi R8 e-tron, its lightweight nature is thanks to Multimaterial Space Frame (MSF), a new phase of the Audi’s ultra lightweight construction technology. MSF primarily makes carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) to supplement the car’s aluminum frame. In fact, 23 percent of the weight of the R8 e-tron’s bodyshell is contributed by CFRP parts while 75 percent is generated by metal components. The remaining two percent is from miscellaneous materials.

The new R8 e-tron features a forward structure made from aluminum while the occupant cell is made mostly of CFRP. The tail end of the R8 e-tron, meanwhile, makes use of both aluminum and CFRP. Amazingly the supporting trunk insert – made from CRFP – features corrugated crash structures that allow the car’s rear module to absorb five times the energy that an aluminum lattice structure could absorb. Audi employed a new sandwich concept for the B-posts and rear bulkhead of the new R8 e-tron, resulting to a weight reduction of 11.5 kilograms (25.35 lbs).

On the other hand, the outer skin of the new R8 e-tron is made almost entirely of CFRP, with each part having its own purpose. For instance, some areas on the front lid feature seven layers of carbon fiber matting, as laid out on top of the each other. Meanwhile, the inner shells on the rear side feature two layers of non-woven material.

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