One of the earlier all-electric concept cars from a major maker was the Audi R8 e-tron, first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009.
Audi has consistently said it will build up to 1,000 of the battery-electric supercar and sell them--for a high price--to buyers who want a high-performance electric supercar.
Until now, that is.
The magazine says that Wolfgang Dürheimer, Audi's new R&D chief, plans a complete review of the program.
As late as last month, it issued video of the car's in-dash touchscreen monitors (a somewhat Tesla-esque touch, perhaps).
Even in the best of cases, it appears, the car's original launch date--which was to have been by the end of this year--will be pushed back.
Even if the program goes forward, first deliveries will likely not happen early next year as planned.
The R8 e-tron was an unexpected response by Audi to the launch of the groundbreaking Tesla Roadster.
The world's first modern battery-electric car began to reach buyers in late 2009, and its performance shocked many carmakers--General Motors among them.
But the Audi R8 that was used as a base for the e-tron is a much heavier car--designed around a powerful V-10 engine--than the Lotus-based Tesla Roadster.
The report gives the ostensible reason for the review as the continuing high cost of lithium-ion cells, which could pose a major barrier to the program's success.
But it also points out that a lack of interest by customers could play a role, as well as the limited range of an electric supercar.
2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.
In addition to the 2,500 Tesla Roadsters that have been built, the all-electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive coupe will launch next year as well.
It could simply be that the time for the Audi R8 e-tron has passed.
With Tesla now ramping up production of its 2012 Model S electric sport sedan, a limited-production electric supercar somehow feels ... very 2008.
If the R8 e-tron program is killed by Audi, will it matter one way or the other?
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