The saga of the Audi R8 e-tron stretches all the way back to the 2009 and now all the Audi R8 e-tron needs is a signature to make it to production. Since the first e-tron concept debuted in 2009, a production-intent version has set Nurburgring records, been cancelled, and made a comeback thanks to new battery chemistry. Now all the Audi R8 e-tron needs is a signature to make it to production.
The Audi R8 e-tron had been cancelled due to cost and range concerns, and a limited run of just ten vehicles for research purposes was to be built. But a last-minute reprieve was granted thanks to improved batteries, which supposedly doubled the range without making the final product ridiculously expensive. Reports suggest the finished Audi R8 e-tron has a range of 250 miles per charge, and about 376 horsepower from twin electric motors.
The final piece of the puzzle is a signature from Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s technical director and the man who most likely snuffed the project in the first place. I can understand the reasoning in light of vehicles like the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive. Besides being a pain in the ass to type, the $537,000 electric supercar has a driving range of just 155 miles per charge. Sure, it’s fast, but you’re looking at maybe two hours of aggressive driving followed by eight or more hours of charging. I doubt a lot of people are lining up for such a limited supercar, and the range and top speed of the Audi R8 e-tron probably put the kibosh on the project.
If the Audi R8 e-tron is capable of delivering 250 miles of driving per charge, however, that puts it on par with the Tesla Model S. What Audi will deliver in terms of fast charging could be what makes the Audi R8 e-tron a “practical” electric supercar, and just another toy for the “coulda been cool” collection.