More than 1,000 cars previewed at the LA Auto Show in 2018. While some of the vehicles at the show are entering production, most of the buzz and excitement at the show centres on the unusual, futuristic “concept cars.”
This year one line of cars that attracted that level of buzz has one entering production and one concept car. The Audi e-tron line shown at this year’s show included the e-tron SUV and the Audi GT Concept.
Both cars have already attracted a following, but in the e-tron GT, Audi claims it will nearly double the performance speed of a Tesla Model S while matching the vast Tesla range.
Keep reading to learn more about the Audi GT e-tron.
What is a Concept Car
A concept car is also known as a prototype or show car. It features innovative technology, or mobility concepts, or designs for tomorrow. These are cars that are not just designed on paper but physically constructed to see if they can be put into production safely and profitably.
Many of these cars never make it any further than this stage or stall out in this stage for many years. Audi’s test runs on the e-tron series has gone much further and faster.
The e-tron SUV will go into volume production in the second quarter of 2019. It will be followed later in 2019 by the e-tron Sportback. The e-tron GT Concept is not expected to reach production until late in 2020.
Other Audi Concept Cars
In 1991, Audi introduced another concept car that had people talking. Back then, the Audi Avus Quattro was the first car to feature an aluminium space frame which made the vehicle much lighter than previous models.
Like the e-tron GT, Audi gave the Avus a sports car look and feel. It was a two-door coupe with a 6-speed manual transmission. While the Avus never made it to production, the aluminium architecture was adopted and first appeared in the Audi A8 in 1994.
After the Avus, Audi introduced another concept car, the Rosemeyer, which was also a sports styled two-door coupe. It displayed at several international auto shows in the 2000s, but unlike the Avus it was never intended to be put into production. It was built merely to showcase the Audi brand.
Shared e-tron Features
All indications are that Audi is very serious about putting the e-tron GT Concept into production. Several of its concepts will have been proven by 2020 in the other e-tron models.
For example, all the e-trons features separate electric motors for the front and rear axles. The electronic control system coordinates the drive between the axles as well as left and right wheels making each of them a genuine “Quattro.”
All the e-tron models also include a lithium-ion battery of a flat design that sits low to the ground. It takes up the entire space between the front and rear axles. Audi calls this the car’s energy centre.
Electric Vehicle Adoption
How far an electric vehicle can go between charges is only one of two electric vehicle performance measures.
Further increases in electric ranges are believed to be crucial to the adoption of electric vehicles overall. The median range for electric vehicles increased by 56% between 2011 and 2017.
Globally, nearly 4 million plug-in electric vehicles sold. China is the largest market for electric vehicles today and accounts for more than half that total. The US is second with the state of California being home to almost 48% of all electric vehicles according to Wikipedia.
Sales were spread across all the major brands and price points from the Leaf at the low end to the Tesla Model S at the upper end. In Australia, the Model S overtook the Leaf in sales as early as 2015.
No exact sales figures are available, but electric vehicle use in Australia is not high in any particular state. Aside from the Model S, there are no other clear brand favourites or even favoured electric vehicle types. Electric utility vehicles are as popular in Australia as electric cars.
Audi GT Range and Charging
The range of the e-tron GT will be over 400 kilometres (248 miles). However, any range estimate given depends on how the car is driven. That falls a bit short of the 498 kilometres (310 miles) range of the Tesla Model S.
Audi’s Electric Sports Car
William Morrison’s, six-passenger electrified wagon capable of reaching a top speed of 14-miles per hour debuted around 1890 in Des Moine, Iowa. Today, Audi is boasting that the pickup speed on the e-tron GT will be nearly double the Tesla Model 3 (which also features a dual motor all-wheel drive).
The Model 3 will accelerate from 0 to 60mph in 3.5 seconds. Audi says the GT should accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62.1 mph) in around 3.5 seconds before going on to 200 km/h (124.3 mph) in just over 12 seconds. The top speed is regulated at 240 km/h (149.1 mph) to maximise the range.
Audi is rounding out the e-tron line by making the e-tron GT a genuine sports car.
e-tron GT exterior Styling
The car closely follows the proportions of the Gran Turismo. Flat, wide, low and long – the aerodynamics of the Audi GT were carefully created. The body is very lightweight and also very closely follows the lines of the Porsche 911.
The roofline of the e-tron GT slopes and extends well into the rear like the Sportback layout that is the hallmark of the brand. The cabin also tapers towards the back.
The grille stretches horizontally like the A7. However here, the top half is closed, hiding the sensors beneath it. There are still large air intakes on either side of the grill to cool the battery, brakes and to make the car more aerodynamic. Oversized wheels add to the range (and some thoughtfully styled rims to add to the cool factor).
There is one styling innovation that appears very odd at first glance. On the e-tron GT Audi is testing glowing touch-sensitive buttons instead of door handles. In back, an illuminated e-tron badge in the rear bumper may or may not make it into production worldwide.
e-tron GT Interior Styling
Inside it is a very current interior design, not a futuristic look. The designers used sustainable materials throughout and no animal products for a “vegan interior.” Sorry authentic leather lovers this means synthetics materials were used.
The e-tron GT features a flat floor instead of the “footwells” usually found on electric vehicles. It rides a full two inches lower than the Audi A7. Audi believes it will appeal to the same market that likes the A7 and the R8.
The US version will have rearview mirrors. Australian models, however, will feature an extension of popular new technology. Rearview cameras that assist when backing up have proven so popular, Audi is pushing them further in the e-tron GT.
Instead of rearview mirrors, the Australian e-tron GT will feature two cameras that display those rear views in windows on the door panels. These cameras nearly eliminate all blind spots and display distance more accurately than rearview mirrors. Early reviewers say this is one feature that takes a lot of getting used to at first.
Another that the Australian version will get in the production model is animated headlights, well, maybe. Audi has said they will put this into production, but have not said it would be right away. The headlights create a pulse of light that “waves” to the driver as he approaches and a red light strip in the rear that splits and spreads to the edges.
Up-Front Costs vs. Lifetime
There has been no word on expected costs to buy the e-trons as yet. Sports car features and styling, however, are not likely to be cheap. Here’s where you can get more information on how likely you are to recoup the upfront cost of an electric car over its lifetime. Check here to see if any Australian tax rebates may help lower prices.
Charging is to be via 800V system allowing for 80% charge in 20 minutes. Costs to use the ChargePoint system will vary according to location. You can also charge the car up at home each night. Wireless charging in your garage can be done overnight if you have an 11kW wireless charging pad permanently installed on your garage floor.
Anticipation Will Build
You can expect news about the Audi GT Concept car to fall off a bit now that it has made its debut. But, with the amount of enthusiasm it received, and the launches of its fellows over the next year, there will be more to come. Visit All-Electric Vehicles to keep up on the latest.