The eTron is a highly engineered and efficient automobile. Each of its 4 individual motors may be powered on or off independently as required for the greatest traction and control in corners. Since the motors are electric, the torque of each motor registers almost instantly.
Weight distribution is similar to other high end sports cars, giving a road hugging ride. The ride is specified to last about 150 miles as long as power holds out from its 53 kWh Li-Ion battery pack.
Interestingly, the eTron maintains front air scoops. This seems similar to new BYD e6 EVs maintaining a higher hood profile than needed so as to not appear too different from gas powered cars.
To put the range and power in some perspective, the fuel tank on the R15 holds about 81 liters, 20 US gallons. The liquid fuel energy equivalent in the battery pack is about 1.2 US gallons.
To put the price in perspective, it is likely to be somewhere around $160,000 USD. Audi only plans to produce about 1,000 units.
Audi A3 eTron
Like the R8 eTron, the the A3 eTron is based on its gas/diesel powered equivalent, the A3.
The A3 eTron is powered by a 130 hp electric motor producing 200 ft lbs of torque. The battery pack is reasonably sized at 26.5 kWh. The pack can be recharged in 4 hours with a 400 volt fast charger, or 9 hours from a standard 110 volt outlet.
For performance, range is estimated at 90 miles per hour. From zero to 60 mph will take you 11 seconds in the A3 EV.
Audi is launching a U.S. A3 EV test pilot program in Denver, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The pilot program features an unknown number of EVs, but is expected to be similar to the BMW Mini E, and Active E program.
First test drives of the A3 rate the car as easily functional and well built. Performance gives a 0-60 time of 11 seconds compared to the Ford Focus EV, and Nissan Leaf times of about 10 seconds. Audi hides the battery pack under the back seat giving up no storage space. One of the interesting comments about the A3 EV is that the controls are functional but not fancy as compared to cars like the Tesla and Leaf.
The A3 EV may not however even be produced for awhile. Audi does expect to produce a plug in version (PHEV) of the car in the next few years.
As of late fall 2014, Audi appears to be planning another EV platform called the Q8. The Q8 would use elements of the R8 eTron and be marked by sometime in 2017.
Audi Q8 eTron SUV
New for 2017 will be a crossover SUV with a 90 kWh battery pack. The SUV would have a range of around 300 miles.
Audi eTron Program
The eTron line currently has two models, the R8 high end sport version, and the A3 commuter version. The eTron concept includes the development of a full line of Evs:
BEV (battery electric), HEV (hybrid electric), PHEV (plug in hybrid), and EREV
(extended range) electric vehicles.
In addition, Audi plans an all electric SUV with a 300 mile range by 2018.
Audi R8 eTron
An R8 electric car has been the subject of discussion for years and in late 2014
seems to have gotten the nod for production within the next few years. The R8 weighs
in at 3,525 lbs, giving a nearly 1 to 1 power (torque) to weight ratio! More eTron specifications are here. The car can go from stop to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, about on par with the Tesla Roadster, and the Tango T600. Top speed is governed to around 125 mph.
Audi R8 eTron at Le Mans
Audi R8 eTron - limited production 1,000 cars
Audi A3 eTron
Audi A3 eTron - pilot program in U.S. cities