Audi Talks R8 e-tron From Geneva, “It’s A Sportscar, It’s Not Comparable With A Tesla”

MAR 23 2015 BY JAY COLE 28

The Audi R8 e-tron made its official debut in Geneva this month.  And along with the car, a few Audi officials were made available to sit down and discuss the all-electric version of the R8 supercar.

The Audi R8 e-tron Debuts In Geneva

The Audi R8 e-tron Debuts In Geneva

According to Audi, the R8 e-tron is capable of travelling more than 450 km (280 miles) on a single charge, and can zip to 62 mph in about 3.9 seconds(full technical details here)

Thomas Juppel, Project leader for Audi on the R8 e-Tron, is quick to point out that his car and the Tesla Model S are NOT competitors.

“Generally it’s a sportscar, it is not comparable with Tesla.  So that means we’ve got only two seats, not four (?)”

While in many regards, we are quite sure the Audi engineer is right on a technical level, at the same time we are also confident the R8 e-tron and the Tesla Model S P85D will be heavily cross-shopped by potential consumers.

Mr. Juppel highlights the rear-drive system in the Audi during the interview, and also seems quite pleased with his company’s decision to go with higher density, smaller format battery cells that the engineer says is “not comparable with any existing battery system on the market at the moment…but I can’t tell  you exactly what it is.”

In total, Audi is using 7,488 small cells, good for an 92 kWh, the original R8 e-tron concept had just 49 kWh of traditional automotive lithium battery cells. Mr. Juppel says that the total weight of the battery package is 600 kg. (1,300lbs).

The Audi R8 e-tron is hand-made and is available to order later this year.

The second part of the video details the BMW i3 and i8.

Thanks to Per Jeppson at SunDrive AB and Elbilen i Sverige

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28 Comments on "Audi Talks R8 e-tron From Geneva, “It’s A Sportscar, It’s Not Comparable With A Tesla”"

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The bit about the small cell format was interesting……what’s the deal with that?

Just went to the Tesla order page and you can’t order a P85 anymore. Just a P85D. The D will still be less than this Audi and faster to boot. Not to mention the SC network.

They are right there is no competition.

All true, but the Audi is RWD, and performance is impressive for only one motor. You can bet they have and AWD version in the works for those who value acceleration over RWD dynamics.

It’s a RWD with two motors side by side.

Interesting. As I recall, the Fisker Karma also used two side-by-side electric motors in the rear. Not for greater power, but because it was easier to find space for twin medium-sized motors than a single large one. That might help with overheating, too; overheating when driven at top speed certainly is an issue for Tesla’s cars, both the Roadster and the Model S.

AWD is for traction, that improves both dynamics and acceleration, just go look at Audi Quattro.

The only downside to AWD is efficiency. Tesla claimed improved efficiency, but that turned out to only be at comparable power levels. The torque sleep update got the P85D back to equal levels of highway efficiency with the P85, but still has a slight penalty in stop and go because of the extra weight.

No, AWD does not improve all aspects of dynamics in all conditions.

AWD adds weight and under-steer, but improves traction at launch and low speeds. For short distance stop light racing, and rally racing it is great. It really depends on the conditions and course but there are times when RWD is better. The RWD Radical SR8 is ten years old but still beats the best AWD production cars on road courses like Nurburgring.

Site still shows 60 and 85 options if you go through the model S page. Link on front page is promo for Dual

Yes an 85 but no P85 AFAIK. I went to the orders page.

As I understand it, Tesla has changed the ordering options so that now, the P85 is only available with the “D” (dual motor) option, and the “D” is not available for the 60 kWh version. Both of those are changes since the initial offering of the “D”.

I’d be interested to know if anyone will get a Model S 60D. Were there orders which were finalized before Tesla changed the available options?

Whats the price?

This 280 mile range should be qualified as a NEDC estimate which is less than the NEDC 311 mile range of the Model S, which gets more range despite having a smaller 85kwh battery pack and is about 15% heavier than the R8. A better comp is the 70 kwh Roadster upgrade which gets about 100 miles more range than the R8.

What I find interesting with the e-tron is that its battery is using basically same technology as Tesla’s (small cells) and has about same energy density. As Audi belongs to same group as Volkswagen it could mean that e-Golf will sooner or later benefit from this improved energy density. Making a 2017 200 miles range e Golf possible. So that could make 4 “affordable” 200 miles EV in 2017 (Tesla, Nissan, GM & VW) .

“Generally it’s a sportscar, it is not comparable with Tesla. So that means we’ve got only two seats, not four (?)”

I guess they never heard of the two-seat Tesla Roadster. 😉

Good point. In 2015 they have now matched the performance of the 2008 Roadster, but not the Roadster Sport.

It does have more range that the original Roadster, but should be on equal levels with the new mods offered on the Roadster.

Isn’t Tesla doing a new Roadster at some point? Was originally going to be done during 2014. So, this is something that goes up against a future vehicle from Telsa.

Yes, Tesla has said several times that it will make an updated Roadster at some point in the future. No telling just when that will be.

The Roadster is no longer available, so they aren’t competing with it.

Is the R8 yet available for delivery (or even for order)? If not, then we have the awkward situation of a vaporware product competing with an EOL product.

It’s a sports car . . . that is why it is slower off the line than the P85D.

Uh . . . OK.

Which is pretty irrelevant. What will be interesting is to see how it performs on a track and in corners on fun roads.

It’s kind of strange, people in here don’t even seem to know what a sports car is.

Mikael said:

“It’s kind of strange, people in here don’t even seem to know what a sports car is.”

Audi doesn’t seem to know either, given that they don’t think Tesla has made a two-seater sports car. Oddly enough, quite a few people seem to think the Tesla Roadster is a two-seater sports car, and one which will almost certainly equal or better the performance of this Audi entry in every important aspect except possibly range. (The 0-60 time is identical for the base Roadster, and faster for the Roadster Sport.) Given that EV makers always over-promise about the range, it’s hard to say if the Audi will better the Roadster’s real-world range of between 160-200 miles… and that’s without the optional battery upgrade for the Roadster recently offered by Tesla.

hmm.. It is funny that off the line speed is the ONLY thing that “average joe” understands about “sports car”.

That is so typical American thing. That is classic reason why American sports car can only do well in straight line and can’t corner worthy a darn… Until recently, the Corvette is finally on par with the European sports cars…

Sports cars requires you to have good straight line acceleration, great braking, awesome handling and great top speed.

It is the whole package, NOT just 0-60mph. 0-60mph is American dragster thing (even in those, people care more about 1/4 mile rather than just 0-60mph).

The Viper seemed to do pretty well at the Nurburging over the last decade.

…while being available for TWO decades. Meanwhile, Vipers still aren’t usable as actual transport; a reviewer of the current redesign noted that it only cut him once.

Mercedes would never sell something as literally coarse as the Viper, and not Audi either.

Once again, it is funny how people thing the most important performance characteristic of a car is 0-60.

It’s an easily quantifiable performance characteristic. Other characteristics, such as handling and cornering ability, are harder to quantify, and a rating of those characteristics may be subjective rather than objective.

For an EV sports car, one important quality should be how long the car can maintain top speed. Both the Tesla Roadster and the Model S quickly overheat and automatically go into reduced power mode when driven at top speed for longer than a very short period. Will this Audi EV sports car have the same problem?

It is no more quantifiable as many other stats.

For a sports car, there are other stats that are more important if you are interested in having fun at a track or a mountain road. For a drag racing, well, there are more useful measurements for that as well.

Its not as definitive as one might think either. Test conditions, and the driver behind the wheel can introduce large variance. Yet, people treat it like it is the only way to measure performance and compare results across sources.

0-60 is an overused measurement of performance.