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Audi PB18 e-tron concept revealed

All-electric supercar preview swaps autonomy for involvement

Audi has unveiled the PB18 e-tron, which it will present at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, California.

Inspired by the Audi R18 e-tron race car, the PB18 is powered by a trio of electric motors for a peak combined system output of 570kW and 800Nm, motivating a vehicle weighing less than 1550kg.

Channelled through an all-electric take on Audi’s quattro system, the PB18 e-tron claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of just over 2.0 seconds.

The 95kWh liquid-cooled solid-state battery provides a range of over 500km on the WLTP cycle and can be fully recharged in around 15 minutes with an 800-volt charger. It's also compatible with Audi Wireless Charging, which enables the car to be parked over a charging pad and re-powered without plugging in.

Audi is pitching the PB18 e-tron firmly as a driver’s car, touting its lack of autonomous systems and comfort features as proof of a more focused, engaging experience.

One of the PB18 e-tron’s most unique features is the integrated driver’s seat and cockpit, which can slide laterally within the car. This allows the driver to be positioned at the centre of the cabin for racetrack driving, or in a conventional position for road use. To allow for this feature, both the steering and throttle are of a by-wire design.

Gael Buzyn, head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California, described the thinking behind this idea: “We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18. That’s why we developed the interior around the ideal driver’s position in the center. Nevertheless, our aim was to also give the PB18 e-tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver, but also for a potential passenger.”

Further racing inspiration can be seen in the “lateral bridge” design of the front hood, which enhances aerodynamics as well as allowing the driver to see directly onto the road beneath.

A transparent OLED surface is mounted within the windscreen, which can use navigation and vehicle electronics data to display information such as the ideal driving line of the next corner into the driver’s field of vision.

The concept will be on display at Pebble Beach from the 26th of August 2018.