Audi A2 Concept, Frankfurt Motor Show, September 2011Enlarge Photo
Audi has demonstrated a vote of little confidence in electric cars by revealing it has canceled plans to produce the all-electric Audi A2, and the range-extended A1 e-tron.
CAR cites Audi's concerns that the projected 40,000 Euro price tag--just under $50,000--would make the project unviable for the low sales volumes it would likely attract.
The A2 concept was first revealed at last year's Frankfurt Auto Show, where it spearheaded a range of Audi electric vehicles including the A1 e-tron, the closed and open-roof Urban Concepts and the R8 e-tron.
Partly inspired by the 1999 Audi A2, a forward-thinking aluminum-bodied subcompact, the electric A2 concept was set to use a 114-horsepower electric motor and offer a 125-mile range. Styling wasn't too dissimilar to the distinctive original A2, but it featured laser head- and tail-lights and turn signals that ran down the entire length of the car.
Audi A1 e-tron ConceptEnlarge Photo
Also disappearing into the ether is the A1 e-tron, based on Audi's European sub-A3 offering. Audi cites the small profit margins on cars like the A1, and the poor state of the European market, as reasons for its demise.
The innovative vehicle previewed the use of a Wankel rotary engine mounted below the trunk floor. This made the e-tron a range-extended vehicle, supplying extra power should the car's battery pack run down. The car was said to offer a 30-mile electric range, and a combined range of 155 miles.
Audi hasn't revealed what will become of the 20-strong lease fleet undergoing testing in Munich, but we hope they'll avoid an EV1-style fate.
It isn't clear whether Audi still has plans to produce the small Urban Concepts, nor an electric version of its R8 supercar--but judging by the latest cull, we're not holding our breath.