Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: Audi R8 e-Tron Prototype Concept

Electric cars will never be the same. Audi is almost ready to launch its assault on the electric performance car market, and this is the model it's going to use. We drove a previous Audi R8 e-tron prototype in 2010 (and you can read that review here) but that car has been thoroughly overhauled, and the version you see here is almost ready for production.

We spoke to one of the engineers working on the project, who told us: "The car will enter small series production at the end of 2012, the car here is virtually finished technically, but the designers have big plans for its looks. You will still be able to tell it's based on the R8, but it will be completely unique."

He continued, "The interior will be completely new and an all-new body structure had to be developed to accomodate the electric motors and batteries. The bodywork will be made from carbon-fibre and CFRP to keep weight down to a minimum."

A kerbweight of around 1,600kg is likely, with 600kg of that thanks to the lithium-ion battery pack behind the driver. By comparison, Audi's 5.2-litre V10 engine weighs 400kg. Performance will be impressive, our sources revealed that a 0-62mph sprint in 4.8 seconds is the target thanks to a 312bhp electric motor producing, in theory, 5,400Nm or torque - although that has to be limited to preserve the transmission.

This prototype, which is one of many currently being tested, is rear-wheel drive, although the engineer we spoke to admitted that whether that or four-wheel drive will be used on the production car is still up in the air.

A smartphone app has already been developed which shows your theoretical range from your current location. It also allows you to start charging your car remotely if it's already plugged in and delivers other useful information, such as local charging points. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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