Video Test Drive: Audi R8 E-tron

The first ever electric vehicle with Quattro is still a few years away, but we were invited to Ingolstadt, Germany to try one out. E-tron is the name of Audi’s new line of electric vehicles including an R8 and an A1. We didn’t get to drive the red concept E-tron that’s all over the internet, instead we drove one that looked and drove more like a real production car. The supercar was pretty interesting to drive even though it’s not complete. The main difference is that nowhere in the car is a gasoline engine, instead batteries take up the place of the engine and electric motors power the wheels.

There are four electric motors, one for each wheel, combined to offer a peak output of 313 hp and 3319 lb-ft of torque and will propel this futuristic transport to 100 km/h in 4.8 sec–not bad for an electric. Not only is the acceleration fast and linear, but the E-tron R8 keeps all the driving character that made the gas R8 so fun to drive. The Quattro system is a bit more relaxed on this car versus something like an A4, keeping the torque balance at 30/70 front to rear means more fun if you have the skills.

The battery weighs in at 1212 lbs and stores 53 KWh of energy. It can be charged in 6-8 hours on 220V, and with a higher voltage, charge time can decrease to just under 3 hours. With a fully charged battery you can expect to take the R8 E-tron about 150 miles.

The sounds of the acceleration is very electric-car-like, quite futuristic–think the I, Robot Audi for sound. Audi is saying that it will come out in a couple of years as a 2012 model and the cost has been estimated to nearly $200,000. Check out the video of the first drive, and look for more videos of other electrics I drove in Germany later.