Marcus De Guzman / Audi | August 24, 2018 12:40
Audi debuts the sleek and electric PB18 e-tron at Pebble Beach
The future of the supercar is looking electric, it seems. With Audi already considering killing off the R8 in the near future, the Ingolstadt-based automaker is venturing into electric propulsion to power their next-generation flagship supercars.
Enter the Audi PB18 e-tron. Featuring stylish looks, racing-inspired design and tech, along with an all-electric powertrain capable of producing nearly 700 PS, the all-new concept presents a radical vision of Audi's vision of a high-performance electric car for the world of tomorrow.
Designed by Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California, the PB18 e-tron takes inspiration from classic race cars of old while blending futuristic design touches. Gael Buzyn, Head of Audi Design Loft, said that they approached in designing the PB18 e-tron by offering a race car-like interior while also making it practical and livable to drive every day.
It follows the traditional mid-engine sports car design with the cab placed far forward. With it, Audi was able to set the car's center of gravity just behind the seats and in front of the rear axle. Meanwhile, the chassis is made up of a mixture of lightweight aluminum and carbon composites which ensure it has a low curb weight of less than 1,550 kg.
As far as styling is concerned, the front fascia is dominated by Audi's signature Singleframe grill and laser LED matrix headlights. Thanks to massive air intakes dominating the front end, it allows for easy cooling of not only the carbon ceramic brakes, but also the electric powertrain as well. The large fender flares, on the other hand, highlight the PB18 e-tron's wide track and equally massive 22-inch wheels.
Size-wise, the PB18 e-tron measures 4.53 meters long, 2 meters wide, 1.15 meters tall and has a 2.70 meter wheelbase. According to Audi, these external dimensions are reminescent of a classic sports cars of old.
The driving force of the PB18 e-tron are three electric motors. One is placed at the front while the remaining two are situated at the back, individually powering each rear wheel. It has a maximum output of nearly 680 PS (can be boosted to 775 PS temporarily) along with a stump-pulling 830 Nm of torque. With it, the PB18 e-tron can catapult itself from 0 – 100 km/h at more than 2 seconds; to which Audi claimed is as quick as their LMP1 prototype.
Powering the electric motors is a liquid-cooled solid state battery that has an energy capacity of 95 kWh. When fully charged, the PB18 e-tron can travel over 500 km. With a charging voltage of 800V, Audi claimed that the PB18 can be fully recharged in as little as 15 minutes. It can also be recharged by way of wireless charging.
Aside from having a high-tech electric powertrain, the PB18 also benefits from LMP1 racing technology. In fact, Audi said that the suspension of the R18 e-tron quattro served as inspiration for the PB18 e-tron's underpinnings. Both the front and rear suspension have lower and upper transverse control arms commonly found in race cars. It even gets a push-rod front axle and a pull-rod rear axle that are equipped with adaptive magnetic dampers. Finally, it has huge carbon ceramic disc brakes ensure the PB18 e-tron can decelerate quickly and efficiently.
While Audi has yet to say if the PB18 e-tron is a prelude for a purely electric sportscar for the future, the PB18 e-tron does serve as an inspiration for Audi's venture into electric automobiles. With electrification of automobiles becoming the next big thing, Audi's future supercar might be based off or borrow technology from the all-new e-tron concept.