Audi Introduces New Electric Sports Car – the PB18 E-Tron
By Tim Charlet on August 28, 2018
The e-revolution is spreading like wildfire – and Audi is ready to enter the performance-enhanced fray. A new concept has been announced by Audi that features race-car inspired suspension, solid-state batteries, and movable cockpit. While the PB18 E-Tron is in concept mode, it is expected to accelerate from zero to 62 miles per hour in a tick over two-seconds.
The German automaker selected Monterey Car Week to announce the new PB18 E-Tron project, which is referred to internally as Level Zero. The inside project name Level Zero is a reference to the SAE levels of automation, meaning that this is a driver’s car – and not a driver-less car. This is one of the unique features of the PB18 E-Tron, as the cockpit and driver’s seat can be laterally moved inside the car. For on-track performance where a passenger seat is not needed, the driver seat can be centered (similar to the Infiniti Prototype 10 – where the pedals and steering also move due to the drive-by-wire compatibility).
The exterior design and styling of this new Audi concept car is just as impressively striking. Essentially, it looks like a two-door station wagon on steroids. The carbon and aluminum body are both lightweight and durable. Under its skin is a three electric-motor powerplant – with one for the front axle and a motor for each rear-drive wheel. Combined, the PB18 E-Tron’s electric motors produce 500kw or roughly 612 pound-feet of torque and offer a boost function that adds an extra 70kW when you want to approach ludicrous speed. The output is applied to the ground with a unique suspension and push-rod arrangement up front – and pull-rod set-up in the back.
The real technology booster is the battery specs. The new power-adder is actually a liquid-cooled solid-state battery pack that is designed to charge at 800 volts. However, this type of power capacity is still theoretical at this point – which is why Audi has this car in concept mode – and has not announced a launch date.
According to the head of Audi Design Loft located in Malibu, the goal of the Audi PB18 E-Tron is to “offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18. This is the reason why we’ve developed the interior around the ideal driver’s position in the center. Our aim is to give the PB18 E-Tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver but the potential passenger as well.”
The Audi PB18 E-Tron is still a while away from being offered at dealerships, mainly due to the battery capability. However, Audi’s parent company VW is currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to expedite this technology, as it can be a game-changer in the electric car segment.