Sam Philip16 September 2009

Frankfurt show: Audi E-Tron

Audi’s all-electric R8 could reach production by 2012… with a ridiculous 3,319lb ft of torque

Frankfurt show: Audi E-Tron

There are not enough cars named after early 1980s sci-fi films. Rectifying this blatant shortfall comes the Audi E-Tron, an all-electric R8-based concept packing a ridiculous 3,319lb ft of torque.

That's about 10 times that of the V8-powered R8, thanks to four electric motors, one in each wheel. The E-Tron's power figure isn't quite so prodigious, standing at 309bhp, around 100bhp down on the V8 petrol R8.

Performance isn't quite as extreme as the huge torque figure might suggest, with 60mph arriving in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 124mph.

The relatively modest acceleration owes more to the difficulty of managing the massive torque than the E-Tron's kerbweight: in fact, at around 1,480kg, it weighs slightly less than the petrol R8, thanks to an aluminium spaceframe and carbon-fibre-plastic body panels.

The battery is mounted just in front of the rear axle, providing near-perfect 48-52 front-rear weight distribution. Audi says the E-Tron will manage around 150 miles on a single charge, and will take around six to eight hours to fully recharge the lithium ion battery pack from a household plug socket.

Audi sources say that, with an improvement in electric infrastructure, the E-Tron could reach production by 2012.

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