When most people think of electric vehicles, they think of low cost and environmentally friendly vehicles that are about as much fun to drive as the Flintstones’ car. Automakers like Audi and Mercedes-Benz, however, are hoping to alleviate that stigma by targeting the top end of town and promoting the performance aspects of electric propulsion--instantaneous torque.
Both automakers are working on new electric sports cars, Audi with the R8 e-tron and Mercedes-Benz with the all-electric SLS AMG. Both have also shown off concept versions of their respective electric sports cars but now Audi has taken a further step, showing off the R8 e-tron at this past weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Presented during the Le Mans vers le futur, a demonstration run for electric vehicles, five-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela took the R8 e-tron for a spin, wowing audiences with its impressive performance.
As you may recall, the R8 e-tron features four electric motors--two each at the front and rear axles--driving the wheels and making it a true quattro all-wheel drive. Producing 313 horsepower and 3,319.03 pound-feet of torque, the two-seater accelerates from 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds, and from 37-75 mph in 4.1 seconds. The top speed is limited 124.27 mph, as the amount of energy required by the electric motors increases disproportionately to speed.
Audi has also established a new division to handle the development of its e-tron cars, the first of which is expected to be available sometime in 2012. For more information on Audi’s future plans for its e-tron technology, check out our report at sister site MotorAuthority.com.