AUDI SAYS ITS PB 18 E-TRON CONCEPT – ALSO revealed, as its name hints, at Pebble Beach – is ‘destined to push boundaries’. While we’re unlikely to see its kind on the road any time soon, it’s indicative of the brand’s desire to leverage its huge experience in endurance racing and increasing involvement in electrified powertrains to develop its future product line. Low, wide and flat, PB 18 features several technical details first seen on Audi’s Le Mans-winning racers, and notably eschews autonomous functions – an internal working title of ‘Level Zero’ was used to differentiate it from the Society of Automotive Engineers’ well-publicised autonomous driving ‘levels’.
Power Torque Weight 0-100kmph Top speed Price On sale 671bhp (764bhp peak) 830Nm
1550kg (501bhp/ton) 2sec n/a n/a n/a PB 18 pairs a single electric motor up front with a brace of motors at the rear. A boost function can briefly lift maximum output from 671bhp to 764bhp. Strong regenerative braking means most deceleration is via the motors, while the set-up also allows for torque vectoring. While the styling is a development of that of recent Audi concepts, the cabforward architecture is inspired by Audi’s now defunct LMP1 programme. The car’s structure is a mix of aluminium, carbon and other composites, while the laser headlight technology was first developed for Le Mans. The LMP1 influence continues here, with independent suspension at all four corners comprising upper and lower control arms with pushrods (at the front) or pullrods (rear) acting on adaptive magnetic-ride dampers. Steering and pedal inputs are bywire, and the driver’s seat can be positioned centrally, just like in a racing car.
The driver can choose to limit the e-tron’s performance to the benefit of range, with an anxiety-minimising 500km said to be possible. Even then, a full charge of the 95kWh solid-state battery pack takes just 15 minutes with an 800V charger. Wireless induction charging is also a possibility using a charging pad attached to the floor.