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back to article Audi's R8 goes all-electric

Back in May Register Hardware reported that Audi was rumoured to be working on a leccy version of its R8 supercar. Now Audi's confirmed that the rumours were true. audi_etron_01 Audi's e-tron: an electric version of the R8 At the ongoing Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi recently unveiled e-tron - which is powered by four electric …

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FAIL

Ha ha haaaa

My old Ford Focus will be faster than a Leccy supercar, brilliant.....

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Go

Damned crafty Germans!

Produce this vehicle now.

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Joke

Solar panels

I liked the idea of the solar panels on the roof (as seen in the pictures) but wouldn't it cause a problem in high crosswinds? Perhaps they ought to just build them flush into the roof and bonnet.

Seriously if they could design solar panels to look, well, less like solar panels then they really ought to build them into all these electric vehicles. Even if it only adds 10 miles to the range, that's 10 miles less electricity coming out of a coal-fired power station somewhere off in the worker belt. It's not like cost is going to be a prohibitor, since it already is on these electric "concept" cars.

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Silver badge

So it's...

...slower, has a much shorter range, and costs a lot more?

I bet they'll be queuing round the block for that one...

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Lovely lithium

I love the idea of having an electric car, but we need to get away from lithium tech, lovely as it is. There are 11,000,000 tonnes of lithium residing in easily-recoverable places at the moment. If every car requires 500kg of batteries, let's be optimistic and say there's only 100kg of lithium in there.

Those 11 megatonnes of lithium are enough for 110 million cars, assuming no-one buys any new mobile phones, PSPs, laptops etc. There's far more cars in either the EU or the US today, so any shift to lithium batteried cars would require a massive change of habits.

If we rely on lithium tech for our future driving needs, we'll have to

a) only do short journeys, thus reducing the battery size required

b) vastly reduce the number of cars about

Good old ICE burning a renewable hydrocarbon currently looks like the most feasible option... but that assumes several billion people will forego their dinner so the rest of us can drive to the shops!

Either that, or we could go back to the times when people never moved more than a few miles from where they were born. Seeing as my immediate family are now spread across the globe, I suspect I'll have a future where I only get to see my family on a video monitor.

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Black Helicopters

It'll never be sold in the UK

Despite all the government's posturing about reducing the carbon footprint, they'll never give up the millions they make in tax from petrol and diesel sales. Add to that the fact that this car (if it is made available to the public) will cost upwards of £100,000, and the future doesn't look so green.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for quiet, cheap to run, torquey, electric futuristic cars!

I guess this is why there's talk of per mile tax on toll roads or tracking everyone's movements, eh?

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Troll

All Hail

The ubertwatmobile

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Bronze badge

@So it's

"slower, with a much shorter range, and costs a lot more"

Sound about right for our post-post-modern world.

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Go

re: lovely lithium

Lithium is a light metal, and makes up only 3.7 wt% of the new lithium iron phosphate compound that may displace Li-ion (lithium cobalt oxide) batteries due to cost and safety considerations.

Assuming that LFP makes up 75% of a battery pack by weight, a 500 kg battery (which seems a bit on the heavy side) would require 14 kg of lithium. Presumably such battery packs will be designed from the start with recycling in mind.

So not quite so critical as the 100 kg per car, but good times for anyone owning a lithium deposit I suppose.

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FAIL

Ha ha haaaahhh wait a minute...

It's only artificially limited to 125mph, I suspect the unlimited top speed is considerably higher (but also pretty power-hungry)... And in the time it takes your Focus to wind itself up to Vmax, the Audi will be just a dot on the horizon thanks to its superior acceleration. As far as real-world motoring is concerned, getting from A to B in the shortest time possible isn't always about top speed, especially if you value your licence and observe (at least to some degree) the prevailing speed limits. What you want then is a car with a top speed of, say, 100MPH (anyone doing more than that on even a quiet stretch of motorway is just asking to have the book thrown at them if they're spotted by trafpol), but with tons and tons of torque so you can get up to whatever speed is suitable for the conditions in the least amount of time. A bit like this R8, no?

And to all the other detractors, just think back 20-odd years to the dawn of the PC era. How many people back then were thinking "what's the point" and "HOW MUCH?!?" when presented with the then state of the art in personal computing. Imagine then if the PC industry had taken all this criticism on board and said "OK, you're right, what's the point in continuing"... We need impractical cars like the R8, because without the development work that goes into them and the resulting experience gained by engineering teams, we stand a piss-poor chance of ever getting some genuinely useful alternative fuel vehicles.

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Anonymous Coward

@blackworx

Yes, anybody with a car better than yours is a twat.

Keep telling yourself that.

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Anonymous Coward

Fucking Idiots...

... in the motor industry expect us to believe they can get 300bhp out of a lectric motor??

what do they take us for we all know that electric cars have 12-20bhp motors! that are a p.o.s.

Brrringg... oops thats my phone.... what do you mean they've been holding back technology....that would be daft.. I want a decent car now.... wonder why they aren't selling anything??

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WTF?

e-tron

The news has been spreading very quickly here in france.

Why ? Because e-tron, if pronounced étron, means litteraly turd.

way to do guys, not a shitty car ! :)

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Acceleration is what its about..

@Anonymous Coward 08:10 GMT..."My old Ford Focus will be faster than a Leccy supercar, brilliant....." Before your old focus could accelerate to even 100 the Audi would be miles away.

@Greg J Preece "...slower, has a much shorter range, and costs a lot more?

I bet they'll be queuing round the block for that one..." Its not for sale so how do u know what it costs ??

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Silver badge
Grenade

@ Brian 6 and Chris C

Did I say it's quicker of the mark, I said faster, full stop. So on the Autobahn in it's home country of Germany, it's going to look pretty piss poor.

Oh and if we want to willy wave, just sold my kit car for 4 grand that a) was quicker of the mark and b) faster top end.

I have no problem with leccy cars, just don't pretend it's a supercar when it weighs so much and isn't even that quick.

It's a pretty city runabout at the end of the day, unlike the proper R8

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Pint

Why bother

People should know by now that elecky cars running off batteries are quite simply useless.

take the UK for instance, quite a small place of the grand scale of things, as the crow flys thats like 500 miles or something, a lot more if you follow the roads but lets forget that for now.

your going to have to refuel at least 4-5 times taking in to account traffic and their quoted 155 miles will be at optimum speed.

how long do you think it will take to refuel one of those things, your looking at about 1 hour minimum, what could be driven in a day now becomes unreasonable.

so anyway what we need is to invest heavy amounts of money in to hydrogen cars, cost is about the same as petrol a couple of years back, time to refuel is about the same, run time is roughly the same and it is very e-friendly (unlike elecky cars) the only down side at the mo is its slightly dangerious

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Bronze badge

Almost there

An expensive car with a range strictly limited to traffic jams of the daily commute is utterly pointless. It needs a drop-in generator module for long trips away from charge stations. The new VW L1 engine might be light enough to lift by hand and strong enough to get the batteries charged overnight. Slide in the generator, throw a suitcase in the trunk, grab 4 gallons of diesel, and say hello to the open roads for the weekend.

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@Adam 10

Well this whole fuel crisis thing could be solved nice and quickly by using loads and loads of nuclear (phasing in true renewables as they become a practical energy source) to create more hydrocarbon based fuels from seawater and CO2 or whatever that article a few weeks ago said.

Et voila! Mass-produced, reasonably safe, eco-friendly (a net CO2 decrease), everyone with a Prius suddenly has a heart attack from short-circuited smug satisfaction- and we can more easily tailor it to be nice high octane fuel. Plus the cost of fuel won't rise (except by tax/inflation and the other governmental things...). Produced in sufficiently immeasurable quantities it could even drop to a USA-level cost per gallon.

And the best thing? Petrol's made up of lighter and easier to make hydrocarbons than diesel- so the world could be free of diesel cars once and for all! That'll lower particulate emissions, lower nitrogen oxides production and improve cars performance.

Of course, that all means huge amounts of investment. Which won't come because we're too busy not building hydrogen fuelling stations for the fuel cell cars that are always just a few years away from being mainstream. As has been said previously, we lack the will to save ourselves nowadays.

Oh, and the Audi R8 electric is rather ugly compared to its pretty nice looking petrol brother. And those solar panels are much too big for it.

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2 points

1) hydrogen fuel cell tech is the way to go - not big batteries

2) if people do go for big batteries and migrate en masse to 'leccy cars' then the government will lose out on the massive fuel tax levvy and thus electricity will be taxed more and all those who dont run such cars will be punished :-(

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Stop

@ChrisC

"And to all the other detractors, just think back 20-odd years to the dawn of the PC era. How many people back then were thinking "what's the point" and "HOW MUCH?!?" when presented with the then state of the art in personal computing. "

Here is your problem with your arguement.

Did the computer makers turn round and say.

"Hey here is a brand new super computer. It's slower than your current one, has less features, costs twice the price and you'll need to reload your software 5x more often, which itself will take 200x longer to do. But hey, it' s the future."

You see, what they are trying to do is replace a proven technology with an inferior product and charge, on average, twice the price. That's why people won't buy them in their droves. When they come almost as good a petrol, then people will take notice.

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Boffin

quattro?

Four electric motors AND quattro? I'm not sure on this, but I thought the quattro system was used to split torque from one motor between four wheels, while this car, with 4 motors, one can only assume, has one per wheel, thus any traction control type things can be done by controlling the power supply to each motor, not the torque supply to each wheel.

Also, to talk about the audi "quattro" system is ambiguous as, iirc, there are various systems in use by Audi, all of which result in a "quattro" badge on the car.

So.. on to the 'leccy aspect. First up, hydrogen isn't dangerous, that's just crazy talk. So long as no one builds a hydrogen pinto, we'll be fine. However, as it stands, hydrogen storage is an issue. Hydrogen, being an imperfect gas, doesn't compress to half its size under twice the pressure, so hydrogen storage takes up a fair bit of space and/or requires very high pressures. Hydrogen pressure vessels, obviously, need to be built to withstand some very extreme loading, you know, just in case.. so you end up with big tanks either way. Hydrogen FC vehicles don't have incredibly long ranges, at least not with practically sized tanks. Think storage at 350 bar and a range of about 200 miles, although there is ongoing research into better ways of storing hydrogen. Then there's the matter of performance. HFC cars are still dead slow and boring. Also, _I think_, HFCs operate best at a constant rate.. i.e. not the conditions a car operates under, so what is needed is buffering with batteries and possibly super/hyper/whatever capacitors and possibly an on/off control for the fuel cell to stop it running if the batteries are topped up and no major acceleration is happening. Of course using this buffer method means storage losses in batteries so we need better batteries. But all this research is happening and it's going places and Audi are kindly getting people excited about these things and preparing the market while we wait for the technology and the infrastructure to mature. Compare this thing to the Volvo C30 and it's absolutely astounding. Compare the C30 to the Peugeot with the stupidly photo-shopped faces showing four occupants in a smart car.. and the C30 is astounding by that standard.

Of course cars need to get lighter, lighter, lighter. Obviously we need to question the recyclability and initial energy cost of manufacture of composites, but hell, they're a good idea when done right. Then we have to realise that electric cars aren't going to work the same way as ICE cars. They don't have a big engine, a gearbox, a transmission tunnel, diff(s) and then a fuel tank. Electric cars should be designed from the ground up to fit around the drive-train.

Finally, the biggest challenge of all... they still need to feel good to drive. I would imagine that electric motors are going to give the driver less feedback, we'll see.

I typed a bit more than I meant to. Sorry. Kudos if you read it :-)

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to use a popular phrase

this is yet another another epic fail.

The vehicle was apparently created to gain an understanding of the battery and motor systems. Of course it couldn't be done using an A3 base. Wouldn't get anything like the column inches. So it's another bit of media whoring, showcasing a laughably overweight product wrapped in incredibly dull styling. Which Audi fanciers will love anyway as they do like dullness. They think it means understated or cool. Idiots.

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Coat

@ Dave 62

Quattro is a concept, not a system.

The Quattro system on a VW car yeilds 4Motion

The 4Motion system on an Audi yeilds Quattro.

The Quattro on my S2 and S4 are totally different beats, but both are Quattro badged.

Electric motors means an infinately variable split of tourqe and should make the handling and road manners of this car quite interesting. 330/4 =82HP per motor, thats not THAT high if you look at what else is about.

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