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.

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