2016 Audi R8 e-Tron Electric Sports Coupe Confirmed: Promises 280-mile Range, 0-62 Time of 3.9 Seconds

It’s official: after years of indecision and corporate U-turns on the future of an all-electric version of its popular R8 sports car, Audi has unveiled the all-new 2016 Audi R8 e-tron electric sports coupe at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

The all-new Audi R8 e-tron will be available later this year.

The all-new Audi R8 e-tron will be available later this year.

Based on the all-new second-generation 2016 Audi R8, the R8 e-tron will be one of two special editions offered alongside the mainstream gasoline-powered R8 V10 and R8 V10 Plus models, with the other special edition — the Audi R8 LMS — designed specifically to meet new GT3 regulations on the race track.

What’s more, Audi says, customers will be able to order the R8 e-tron later this year, far earlier than previously thought.

As well as a lighter chassis and luggage compartment compared to the previous generation car, made possible by use of an all-new multi material space frame construction that makes use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics to keep weight down and strength up, the 2016 Audi R8 e-tron benefits from a brand-new battery pack that can store a massive 92 kilowatt-hours of energy.

That equates to a total range of 279.6 miles, a massive increase over the battery pack of Audi’s first prototype R8 e-tron, which stored just 49 kilowatt hours and whose production plans were shelved due to its paltry range of just 133 miles.

The increase, says Audi is thanks to a massive increase in energy density from 84 watt-hours per kilogram in the first generation prototype to 154 watt-hours per kilogram in the production 2016 R8 e-tron. The higher the energy density, the more energy a battery can store for a given volume. Built in a T-shape, the R8 e-tron’s battery pack is integrated into the car’s centre tunnel, giving it excellent handling characteristics thanks to its low centre of gravity.

The new Audi R8 e-tron can go up to 280 miles per charge of its 92 kilowatt-hour battery pack

The new Audi R8 e-tron can go up to 280 miles per charge of its 92 kilowatt-hour battery pack

Talking of performance, twin electric motors — each rated at 170 kilowatts — drive the rear wheels to give a maximum torque of 678 pound feet. As well as offering torque vectoring, where each wheel can be sent different power levels to improve cornering, the motors are capable of propelling the car from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds and go to an electronically-limited top speed of either 130.5 mph or 155.3 mph, depending on trim level.

Recharging comes courtesy of a Type 2 CCS charging socket, the standard charging interface for all Audi plug-in vehicles, which enables charging from a 3 or 6 kilowatt domestic charging outlet as well as a dedicated CCS rapid charge station. Using the latter, charge times are around 2-hours from empty to full.

Readers will no doubt want to compare the Audi R8 e-tron to the Tesla Model S P85D , the fastest, longest-range electric car on the market today. Although we should note that the two cars wouldn’t cross shop — one is a five (seven) seat luxury sedan and the other is a sports coupe — the high-end Tesla Model S P85 D wins in both acceleration, range and charging time, equals the Audi on top speeds, and will likely cost less too, although Audi hasn’t detailed R8 e-tron pricing yet.

While many are already criticizing Audi for not besting or matching Tesla’s Model S P85D with the R8 e-tron, we welcome the super-sexy all-electric R8 to the plug-in marketplace, since the more plug-in cars there are, the greater the choice for would-be buyers.

As we often remind our readers, not everyone wants a Tesla. Indeed, Tesla’s current range doesn’t suit all needs.

What do you make of the R8 e-tron? Are you tempted? What do you make of the all-new battery technology, and would you like to see it sold at dealers rather than a build-to-order option?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • Ad van der Meer

    I’ll make the Tesla / Audi comparison just the same and point to efficiency. A two seater needs a bigger battery than a 5/7 seater to cover about the same distance. The Model S battery technology is 3 years old. Vorsprung durch Technik? Hardly!

  • Mark Sanders

    A second hand Tesla Roadster would be the obvious comparison (costs less too !)

  • Michael Thwaite

    What do you mean, not everyone wants a Tesla??!?!?? Reality must be on the blink again :-)nnnI used to be a big Audi fan but was soured by my last one, an S6 Avant – it was the dullest car on the planet – 5 passenger seats & nowhere for a driver to sit, just the designated conductor. I wonder if they’ll nail the driving experience and bring back the fun I had with the original tail-happy TT.

  • Raphael Sturm

    Not comparable to the Tesla Model S, this is just a prototype for a Sedan Audi wants to build sometime in the next 50 years or so… From my point of view this is just show, it will be heavily overpriced, but handmade and if they will sell more than 1000 i will be surprised. It is like the SLS-E-Cell. The only cool thing is the battery pack improvement! But then again, who cares, if it’s not used in cars a normal person can buy?

    • D. Harrower

      Yep. Seems like a bit of vaporware designed to generate headlines, IMO.nnHope it does come out though.

      • Raphael Sturm

        Lets hope they squeeze at least 200 more hp out. But that would be like admitting that EVs could be the better sports cars…

  • CDspeed

    Some people might want an electric two seater super car, and now you can have it with a driving range similar to a Tesla. And compare it to the P85D all you want readers, but you know the P85D’s power is only good for a bit of fun once and a while. And it’s the same with any powerful car, sure it’s fast, but the amount of cars on the road usually dictates your speed.

    • Raphael Sturm

      The deal breaker in my opinion is that it can’t compete. For the money, you could buy the V10+ version which is faster and quicker and might also be cheaper, or the P85D which is quicker, more practical and a lot cheaper. Lets say the target group for this car is extremely limited. But if it had over 600 hp and 0-60 in less than 3.2 seconds, some people might have chosen it over the V10 or the P85D.

      • CDspeed

        The price has not been announced so we can only guess. And who cares which is faster, your not going to test out the 0-60 times in daily traffic. It’ll be sad though if they give the R8 massively high price, the official price of the car will make it, or break it.

        • Raphael Sturm

          From what I have heard between 200-250k. That was the Price range Audi Officials said at her Geneva Auto Show. That combined with no real fast charging station (half charge in an hour is not fast charging), will be the deal breaker, if the car isn’t better in any way than its competitors. And if you can afford a just for fun car that price range your other cars surely aren’t Hondas, or Kias. nSo what I want to say is this: Nobody buys something worse for more money and its hard to find any upside to this Audi.

          • CDspeed

            The R8 e-Tron will be an excellent electric car, but yes if it is priced that high, higher then the V10 Plus it won’t sell very well if at all. I’m still going to wait for the official US price before I write it off as an exotic toy though. And I still wouldn’t bash the e-Tron, it’s the start of the kind of competition Elon Musk has been trying to inspire, and Audi itself calls the R8 e-Tron a starting point that will lead to a Model S fighter. Though with Tesla’s massive lead, who knows how long it will take Audi to catch up.

          • Raphael Sturm

            That Model S fighter is what i am waiting for, but not another excuse for Audi, saying EVs don’t sell, compared to their ICE counterparts.

          • CDspeed

            Here is an article that just popped up this morning on an all electric Q7.nhttp://www.worldcarfans.com/115030690029/audi-announces-all-electric-suv-is-coming-soon-with

          • Raphael Sturm

            Lets hope this will come true! And with a reasonable price.

  • Surya

    Bigger battery with lower range. Slower acceleration. It seems Tesla simply has superior engeneers.

    • D. Harrower

      It’s funny how I now have a little “Tesla did it better” chime that goes off in my head as I read the announcements for new EVs touting their revolutionary new features. Range? “Tesla did it better”. Acceleration? “Tesla did it better” Battery design? “Tesla did it better”. And so on.

      • That’s a scary place to be, I mean, it’s okay for one automaker to lead the pack, but I think there’s a dangerous mindset underneath the concept that Tesla can’t do any wrong or that it’s perfect in any way. No automaker is perfect 🙂

        • Zippy

          Automakers don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be closer to perfection than the competition. Tesla is still carrying that torch and gaining speed while the rest sat on the sidelines smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.
          Everyone who sees a Tesla wants one.. the newest petrol cars all seem like tractors with go-faster stripes by comparison.

  • D. Harrower

    It’s too bad. I traded my Audi in for a Model S last summer and I asked the manager about the rumored R8 e-tron. He said it would be $200K, a plug-in hybrid and I’d have to order it sight-unseen. No thanks. Hello, Tesla!nnHas Audi actually developed any of this stuff? (motors, battery, etc) Or are they just pulling numbers out of their ass in the hopes of generating attention?nnTesla is building a multi-billion dollar battery plant because they can’t get enough cells. Where does Audi plan to get theirs? Have they even thought that far ahead?

    • Ad van der Meer

      Don’t worry about the batteries.They are not going to need that many.

  • DanFrederiksen

    Old thinking vs new. Because the old are mindless and obtuse, they will never do things right so you have this supposed supercar that’s substantially slower than Tesla’s luxury 7 seater sedan. And it will likely cost twice as much.nThese vitamin-b deficient old decadent bastards are so obtuse that they cannot wrap their heads about the concept that electric drive is better so it’s not allowed to be better so they end up with a lame 3.9second acceleration and so Tesla continues to make them look like the idiots they are.

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