Searching an autonomous high performance electric car? PB18 is not the answer

Few weeks ago, Audi presented the idea of a brand new electric sport car and caused a lot of buzz in car community. After all, Inglostadt-based Company is now in full speed developing electric cars with E-tron SUV only days away from revealing. Electric sport car with a silhouette, seen on the first teasers is something very different. Something petrol heads of the future would love to see on the road.

Yesterday, the concept was finally revealed and it looks like everything we hoped for. As only appropriate, Audi have decided to present the prototype in current capital city of motoring, Monterey, California, where annual Concours d’Elegance is taking place.

Audi gave its latest concept name ‘Project Zero’ and there is a good reason for this. While majority of car manufacturers is focusing to different levels of autonomy – some are even working on level 5 autonomy – Audi decided to do a car for future drivers. This means, there is no groundbreaking technologies that could at any given moment intervene between the car and the driver.

 In addition, the driver really is in the center of attention, as there is an option, that he is the only person inside the cabin, if one decides to do so. Audi has actually made a cockpit, which made to be moved in the middle of the cabin, just like with Audi R18, legendary LMP1 racecar, which served for inspiration. On the other hand and when needed, cockpit and seat can be moved to the left side, making enough room for passenger seat.

“We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18. That is why we developed the interior around the ideal driver’s position in the center. Nevertheless, our aim was to also give the PB18 e-tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver, but also for a potential passenger,” said Gael Buzyn, Head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu – where the Audi PB18 e-tron was born.

Another proof, that PB18 could provide everyday usability for a pair are its dimension. It measures 4,53 meters in length, it is two meters wide and (only) 1,15 meters high. Still, even with compact dimensions, this future oriented concept offers 470 liters of space in the trunk. Also, due to the fact, there is 2,7 meters of space between the axles, the cabin is also quite spacious.

Now to the most important part of the car: the power train: PB18 uses three electric motors, one on the front axle with a power output of 150 kilowatts and a pair of electric motors on the rear axle, providing a combined power of 350 kilowatts. In total, driver has 500 kilowatts on stock, with the optional temporary 70 kilowatts when power boost is engaged. There is going to be a battery pack with a capacity of 95 kWh, providing enough energy for up to 500 kilometers of autonomy.

Just like the power train and the cabin, so is the outside of the car designed quite revolutionary.  The cabin itself is moved to the front of the car, which is dominated by 22-inch rims, snugged under the big arches. Still, there was enough room inside them for traditional LED front lights, similar to those Audi is using in contemporary cars. The back of the car is dominated by a strip of LED lights through the entire width of the car and spoiler. Elegantly hidden in the back of the roof, it deploys only when needed. Let us hope, this will happen as often as possible.

Aug. 25, 2018 Driving photo: Audi

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