The Audi PB18 e-tron Concept Car
Pebble Beach Automotive Week in Monterey, California, served the stage for Audi to present the new PB18 e-tron Concept car to the world. Inspired by the wind tunnel and race track, the radical PB18 e-tron is broad and flat, shaped to be as aerodynamic as possible. Offering an insight into how high-performance sports cars will look in the future, the PB18 e-tron is set to push boundaries in the automotive world. Created and designed in Audi’s design studio in Malibu, California, the PB18 e-tron is consistently being updated for the future.
Experts at Audi Sport GmbH have been able to aid the development of this concept with their impressive knowledge gathered from Audi’s many successes at the Le Mans racing series over the years. The concepts abbreviated name ‘PB18 e-tron’ references the location of the vehicles world premiere, Pebble Beach, and its technological DNA that is shares with the impressive LMP1 racing car, the Audi R18 e-tron.
At first glance, the Audi PB18 e-tron shares design cues with the Audi Aicon concept unveiled in 2017, such as the extremely extended wheel arches and the side windows that are angles inwards. Both concepts also share the same electric drive with solid-state battery as energy storage. However, the Aicon was designed with luxury and full-autonomy in mind, whilst the PB18 e-tron has been created to make radical progression as a powerful and dynamic driving machine for the racetrack and road. The designers of the concept considered parameters such as propulsive power, lateral acceleration and perfect ergonomics in every detail of the build. Driver-orientation has also been improved, taking it to an entirely new level.
The working title of the PB18 e-tron at Audi was ‘Level Zero’, as an explicit way to firmly differentiate the concept from Level 3, 4 and 5 autonomous driving that is currently a big focus at Audi. The driver is entirely in control in the Audi PB18 e-tron and there are no complex systems for piloted driving and no comfort features included, as they would add weight. Instead, the driver’s seat and cockpit are integrated into an inner monocoque shell that can be slid laterally. This means when the vehicle is driven solo, the monocoque can be slid to the center of the interior for the perfect racetrack position.
Gael Buzyn, Head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu had this to say about this feature: “We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18. That’s 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.”
The PB18 e-tron is 4.53 meters long, 2 meters wide and just 1.15 meters tall, whilst the wheelbase is 2.70 meters. The vehicles silhouette draws attention to the gently sloping roof line and large C-pillars, combined with the large and almost vertical rear window, the design is similar to a shooting brake concept that has the synthesis of a coupe with the rear of a station wagon.
Three powerful electrical motors power the concept, with one motor positioned up front and two at the rear. The motors deliver up to 150kW to the front axle and 350kW to the rear, meaning the PB18 e-tron is a true quattro. An impressive combined torque of up to 830 newton meters allows the concept the propel itself from 0-62mph in hardly more than 2 seconds.
The PB18 e-tron is not only focused on power, but also on efficiency. When being driven, the concept recovers a large amount of energy. Up to moderate braking, the electric motors are solely responsible for slowing down the car. Only for heavy braking are the hydraulic brakes utilised. A full charge of the liquid-cooled solid-state battery will offer a range of over 310 miles in the WLTP cycle and the battery can be charged in just 15 minutes.
What’s more, the battery can be charged cordlessly via induction with Audi Wireless Charging. This works by placing a charging pad with an integral coil underneath the car and connecting it to a power supply. An alternative magnetic field induces an alternating voltage in the secondary coil that is fitted to the floor of the car, across the air gap.
The PB18 e-tron is the latest vehicle to join Audi’s range of electric mobility vehicles, which started in the late 1980’s. The first production car offered with a combustion engine and electric motor was the Audi duo in 1997, which has the body of an A4 Avant. Most recently, the Audi e-tron SUV was unveiled in 2015 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and a production version of this model is being debuted in September 2018.
View Audi’s e-tron range, or contact Caffyns Audi for more information.