Insiders at Audi cited expensive battery technology and a lack of power as reasons why the project was shelved, but the Audi R8 e-tron now looks back on, set to rival the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder in the electrically-boosted supercar class.
Last year an Audi R8 e-tron prototype set a lap record at the Nurburgring for an electric ‘production’ vehicle, crossing the line after 8:09.099mins .
Two electric motors, each generating 280kW of power and 820Nm of torque, propelled the e-tron prototype from 0-100km/h in an Audi R8 V8-matching 4.6 seconds and onto a limited top speed of 200km/h.
The 1780kg R8 e-tron has a range of 280km from its heavy lithium-ion battery pack centrally located in the transmission tunnel, with the extra use of lightweight carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) offsetting the difference.
Most notable from the spy photos is the lack of a back window with the R8 e-tron. The vents form extra cooling for the rear mounted electric motor.
Audi may show a production version of the R8 e-tron at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
The production version was scheduled for this year, but the uncertainty about whether one will be sold has forced a delay in its on-sale date – it likely won’t reach European showrooms until sometime in 2014.