When Audi announced that they’d be ending their highly successful Le Mans Prototype efforts in favour of a move to Formula E, it was hard not to be a little disappointed. A few years on, however, Audi have now unveiled a new concept car that utilises all of the lessons learned throughout Audi’s dominant Le Mans career.
Designed in Audi’s Malibu based ‘Design Loft’ and wearing the name PB 18 e-tron, the new electric supercar has been officially unveiled during this year’s Pebble Beach Car Week and is a vision into the future of e-tron – Audi’s electric division. If this is the future of Audi supercars, then we’re very excited.
Starting with headline performance figures, the powerplant is a mid-mounted 95kWh solid-state battery that features an 800-volt charging capacity and the subsequent ability of charging from empty to full power in just 15 minutes.
This powerful battery – that allows for a range of 361 miles – has been twinned with three electric motors that combine to gift the PB18 with 661bhp or 753bhp when the short ‘overboost’ function is activated. This massive power combined with the car’s overall weight of just 1,550kg allows the PB18 to reach 62mph from a standstill in a rather ridiculous two seconds flat.
Unlike many concept cars of this kind, Audi haven’t added any form of autonomous capability to the PB18; instead, focus has been placed solely on making this supercar concept enjoyable for the driver. As such, they’ve connected the driver to the car’s steering outputs and the large carbon brakes through clever drive-by-wire systems that can be adjusted by the driver.
Aiding aero performance, there’s active aerodynamics in the form of an extending rear spoiler and dropping rear diffuser.
The interior of PB18 also shares this driver focused ethos and features a driver compartment (seat, steering wheel, pedals and OLED head-up display) that can all move around the cabin.
This means that the driver can experience the feel of a single seat racing car by sitting in the middle of the cockpit or can share the experience by moving to one side and allowing a passenger to sit in the fold-down passenger seat.
Housed directly in front of the driver, the OLED head-up display can be used to show either the ideal racing line (when on track) or the satellite navigation – another feature that shows Audi’s focus on the driver and the car’s ability on track.
That said, they haven’t forgotten about practicality; the shooting brake design at the tail has allowed them to include a 470-litre boot that is similar in size to that of an A4.All-in-all, Audi’s PB18 e-tron concept has us very excited for the future of Audi supercars – we can’t wait to start seeing some of these technology concepts used in real cars. What do you think of the new Audi PB18 e-tron concept?