Before the first of Audi’s mainstream e-tron models hits showrooms, performance division Audi Sport has committed to creating enhanced versions of the electric range.
By 2021 Audi has confirmed that it will have three e-tron models in production starting with an SUV and related Sportback model in 2019, with a third unspecified also in the pipeline - possibly a city car built from the underpinnings of Volkswagens I.D. range.
Speaking to Australian media at the launch of the second-generation RS5 Coupe in Andorra last week, Audi Sport boss Stefan Winkelman revealed to TMR that the move to high performance EVs was an inevitable evolution for the brand’s RS-badged cars.
"Today, what we know is that the first shot has to hit the target. You have to be credible in what you deliver and the customers have to understand the weight, the range, top speed and how long you can hold top speed, acceleration and how many times you can accelerate like this, and the how many metres you can cover in the first 2.5 seconds," he explained.
"What we call tomorrow is the period between 2020-2025, where we have to deliver the first electrification [vehicles]. There, we will not have all the wishes come true of what we want. The body styles are important. For me, there are two that are feasible; one is a limousine and the other one is an SUV because of its packaging, roominess, weight, power… there is a higher credibility with these rather than a small coupe which would promise something in which we cannot keep."
Although Audi Sport’s move into electric performance is clear cut, the way those performance enhancements would be achieved was yet to be revealed with Winkelman remaining tight-lipped on how e-tron models would be given a performance boost.
The division won’t be going in blind though, with the information gleaned from the stillborn R8 e-tron supercar (top of page) and ongoing research resulting from Audi’s Formula E involvement all contributing to engineering efforts.
While Winkelman indicated that larger cars offer the packaging benefits suitable to electric vehicles in the immediate future, he hinted that rapid developments in energy density and battery technology over the next decade will ensure that an electric sports car can be revisited in the future.
"After 25, there will be a higher opportunity for the next step. Customers expect one day that a sports car is also a sustainable car, so there will be one day when that will happen," he said.
"It will be important to make them understand what they bought today is different from what they bought yesterday, and the game is starting with what the others are doing.”
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