The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California came and went, and there was a whole host of cool new automotive toys and developments to get excited about. But none really captured our imagination as closely as the new Audi PB18 E-tron concept – a two-seater, fully-electric sportscar that seeks to redefine how we see sportscars in the future.
What’s do so different about an electric sportscar, you ask? Aren’t there already a bunch of sports EV concepts out there already? Yes, for sure. But the PB18 E-Tron builds off them – and reimagines it – to a point we’ve yet to really see. The show starts with the grill, hollowed out and blacked out for some seriously-rad looks, and continues to the rear, where a square-back, shooting-brake aesthetic takes over. The party then continues inside the cockpit, which will literally slide across the car to the center, in order to give you the perfect racing setup.
If you find that confusing, you are not alone. The cockpit is built-on a bench that occupies the width of the car. When in standard everyday driving mode, there’s room for a passenger in the typical right-hand side. But when you want to do some serious racing, ditch the passenger, press a button, and the cockpit will slowly slide along the bench until it sits dead-center in the car. Yeah. Legit. The term “Level Zero” I a tongue-in-cheek reference to the system of classifying a car’s self-driving capabilities that all the latest techies are into; the more traditional and adventurous of us are perfectly happy with our Level Zero self-driving cars.
That doesn’t mean Audi is eschewing technology, of course; Level Zero wouldn’t work without it. When the steering wheel slides across the cockpit, it actually communicates with the car via a wireless electronic signal, as opposed to the usual physical connection.
And then there’s the motor. Or motors. There’s three of them, combining to turn out an impressive 661bhp – as well as a cool “overboost” mode that can get it all the way up to 753 horsepower. One motor is placed between the front wheels, while the other two each behind their own respective rear wheel. Their powered by a 95Kwh solid-state battery that can last a full 361 miles, and only needs 15 minutes to charge completely. 0-62 takes two seconds.
Unfortunately, it’s now time for the disclaimer: this is just a concept, and who knows when or if it will make it to production. But if it does, this is one seriously-sweet supercar – despite being entirely electric. Audi might have just hit a homerun.