Audi R8 E-tron Romps the Nürburgring
Electric two-seater laps the track in 8 minutes, 9 seconds; by Greg Kable
Audi says the upcoming R8 E-tron electric car lapped the Nürburgring in an impressive 8 minutes, 9 seconds, or just five seconds slower than the conventional 424-hp V8-powered R8 coupe. The R8 E-tron posted the lap with race-car driver Marcus Winkelhock at the wheel during a recent round of testing at the legendary German circuit.
The lap time, set on conventional tires, is described by Audi as a world record for a production car with electric drive.
It beats the 9 minute, 1 second-mark set by Peugeot with its one-off EX1 concept car in April. A run by Toyota in an electric-powered Radical race car named the TMG EV P001 posted a lap time of 7 minutes, 47 seconds.
Audi also says the R8 E-tron will go from 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds--just one-tenth of a second slower than its more conventional gasoline-powered sibling. This is a sign that the new car, which Audi hints will cost upwards of $250,000, won't lack for overall performance when sales begin later this year.
Set to get its first public airing in production guise at the Paris motor show in September, the R8 E-tron shares its appearance with the standard R8. But the changes made to accommodate its two rear electric motors and lithium-ion battery pack, as well as a series of lightweight construction measures and altered suspension, are sufficient enough that Audi's outgoing head of development, Michael Dick, describes it as being all new.
“Don't let the styling fool you. The construction, drivetrain and chassis have been completely altered. It is essentially an all-new car from the ground up," says Dick.
At the heart of the R8 E-tron, which Audi will put into limited production at the end of this year, is a pair of mid-rear-mounted synchronous electric motors, one for each wheel. Developing a total of 376 hp and sturdy 605 lb-ft of torque, they draw energy from a 1,213-lb lithium-ion battery mounted within the middle tunnel and provide direct drive to the rear wheels. In normal driving the drivetrain is said to provide an overall range more than 124 miles.
Electricity for the batteries is recovered from the R8 E-tron's carbon-ceramic brake system and plug-in charging.
To help offset the weight of the battery pack, Audi reworked the R8's spaceframe structure to incorporate aluminum and carbon fiber and new composite-plastic components within the suspension. A reworked interior gets carbon-fiber-backed seats, among other changes. In production guise, the R8 E-tron is claimed to weigh 485 pounds more than the R8 V8, at 3,924 pounds.
The R8 E-tron is among a raft of new performance-oriented electric cars inspired by the Telsa roadster and set to enter the market within the next 12 months. Its closest rival is the Mercedes-Benz SLS E-Cell, which packs a quartet of electric motors--one for each wheel--and is claimed to develop 525 hp and 649 lb-ft of torque.
Content provided by Autoweek.
The technology will someday be viable, but for a massive majority of people it's not now. I just drove nearly 400 miles each way on Saturday and Sunday in heat nearing 100 degrees the whole time. The heat would shorten the distance a charge would get you and the AC which pretty much had to be on would have sapped a lot of juice as well. My trip for what hopefully will a new job would have taken the better part of 10 days in the Audi, or just about any full electric car. My MAZDASPEED3 trudged along quite happily at oh so close to 28 mpg the whole way. Sure, that a rare case, but it's 70ish miles to San Fransisco and I would be hard pressed to get up there for a concert and make it back at night because the headlight will sap juice too.
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