Audi has launched the all-electric Audi PB18 e-tron concept car at Pebble Beach Automotive Week in California.
The Audi PB18 e-tron follows the traditional architecture of a mid-engine sports car with a cab that is positioned far forward. The car’s centre of gravity is located behind the seats and in front of the rear axle – which benefits the driving dynamics. A mix of aluminium, carbon and multi-material composites ensures the body of the Audi PB18 e- tron has a low weight, also helped by the comparatively light solid-state battery. Audi claims a total weight of less than 1,550 kg.
The PB18 e-tron is 4.53 metres long, 2 metres wide and 1.15 metres tall. The wheelbase is 2.70 metres and the overhangs are compact. Viewed from the side, the eye is drawn to the gently sloping roof line which is pulled far to the back and features massive C-pillars. Together with the large and almost vertical rear window, this design is reminiscent of a shooting brake concept – the synthesis of a coupé with the rear of a station wagon. The result is not only a distinctive silhouette but also a clear bonus in terms of cargo space, which is usually at a premium in sports cars. Here, 470 litres is available, and can be fully exploited using the exclusive customised luggage designed to fit the cargo space – even if the luggage in this car frequently consists of nothing but a helmet and racing overall.
A flat red band of lights extends across the entire width of the rear and underscores the horizontal orientation of the vehicle body. The rear diffuser air outlet has been raised high – another functional feature borrowed from motorsport. The diffuser can be moved downwards mechanically to increase downforce, and the rear spoiler can be extended rearwards for the same purpose.
The widely extended wheel arches emphasise the extremely wide track of the PB18 e-tron and illustrate the dynamic potential of the car and its quattro drive. The large 22-inch wheels, each with eight asymmetrically designed spokes, are reminiscent of turbine inlets – together with the air inlets and outlets of the wheel arches, their rotation ensures excellent air supply to the large carbon brake discs.
The Audi logo is positioned on the bonnet in the typical Audi sports car style. Wide and flat light units with integrated digital matrix technology and laser high-beam headlights complete the face of the PB18 e-tron.
The large-format cockpit is designed as a freely programmable unit and can be switched between various layouts for the racetrack or the road, depending on the scenario for use.
The Audi PB18 concept uses three powerful electric motors – one up front and two in the rear. The rear ones are centrally located between the steering knuckles, each directly driving one wheel via half- shafts. They deliver up to 150 kW of power to the front axle and 350 kW to the rear. Maximum output is 500 kW, but with boosting the driver can temporarily mobilise up to 570 kW. The combined torque of up to 830 Nm allows acceleration from 0 to 62mph in just over 2 seconds.
While being driven, the Audi PB18 e-tron recovers large amounts of energy: up to moderate braking, the electric motors are solely responsible for decelerating the vehicle. The hydraulic brakes only come into play for heavy braking. The liquid-cooled solid-state battery has an energy capacity of 95 kWh. A full charge provides for a range of over 310 miles in the WLTP cycle. The Audi PB18 e-tron is already designed for charging with a voltage of 800 volts. This means the battery can be fully recharged in about 15 minutes. The PB18 e-tron can also be charged cordlessly via induction with Audi Wireless Charging (AWC).
The wheels measure 22 inches in diameter and are fitted with 275/35 tyres in the front and 315/30 in the back. Large carbon brake discs with a 19-inch diameter, in conjunction with the electric brake, safely and steadily decelerate the Audi PB18 e-tron even in tough racetrack conditions.