Throughout its brief history – from concept car at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, to production-bound prototype – the Audi R8 E-Tron has promised supercar levels of entertainment in a sexy German wrapper. A prospective range of 150 miles with acceleration on the order of 0-60 in under five seconds suggested a more luxurious rival for the Tesla Roadster, and a challenger for the upcoming Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive at the E-Tron's expected launch in early 2013.

Now it seems like Audi may have slammed on the regenerative brakes, as it were.

Car and Driver reports that the R8 E-Tron plan is on hold, pending a project review ordered by new research and development head, Wolfgang Dürheimer. Concerns about the project include a lack of sufficiently advanced and reasonably inexpensive batteries with which to power the car, as well as a buyer pool sufficiently rich and reasonably motivated to drop big sums on the R8 EV.

The Car and Driver report indicates that the expected launch in the first part of next year is now off the table, and that the entire project faces existential jeopardy.

UPDATE: We were able to speak with a member of Audi's team regarding the fate of the R8 E-Tron, who basically corroborated the earlier Car and Driver report, with a few clarifications. Audi claims that the "initial" run of R8 E-Trons was always meant to be very limited (ten cars), and that those cars were essentially meant to serve as evaluation models for the project as a whole. The discrepancy seems to be in what eventually happens to this first run; first plans indicated that they would end up in public hands, while now Audi states that they are "primarily intended for internal purposes."

On a positive note: While the future of the R8 E-Tron looks pretty cloudy (at least in the pure-EV form), we're told that the A3 E-Tron is still on track for arrival in 2014.


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  • 21 Comments
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      How can they not see a market for pricy EV's, when Tesla is sold out with reservations a year in advance of production? Audi knows they will be crushed by the next generation of Tesla Roadsters that will be based on Tesla's own chassis. Tesla already has plans to make the new Roadsters 2 years from now, and will probably have twice the range of the Audi R8 E-Tron's 150 mile range. Audi can't beat them, and now is just trying to save themselves the embarrassment of getting trashed by an upstart company by not even trying.
        Teddy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        HAHAHAHA yeah I am sure audi is ""trying to save themselves from embarrassment""....... Wake me up when tesla is actually cash flow positive, or when they solve the "brick" problem in their battery's which requires customers to pay 40 grand for completely draining the battery.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        [blocked]
      loopless
      • 2 Years Ago
      Tesla has sold some cars to tech-obsessed Californians and I think Audi is smart to realize the EV sports car is just a technology demonstration and/or toy. Audis efforts to make cars truly carbon neutral using , for example, bio-diesel from algae make much more sense. The pure electric car is never going to be mass market, so why spend development effort on it? Renault/Nissan are looking very foolish right now with there EV initiatives. Of all places Europe should have been a market for EV's but they almost have to give them away.
      Carac
      • 2 Years Ago
      So they realized the market for a supercar that makes no sound, weighs more, can only go 200-300 miles between 8 hour charges, and costs 2-3x as much as the gas version is fairly small?
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good News, another pointless hybrid is gone.
        Klep
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        Look, another idiot who thinks anything that doesn't run purely on gas or diesel is a hybrid.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wasn't this the car that Audi set the Nürburgring ring record for a "Production" EV? Bad enough that they claimed that before production actually started. Downright silly if they aren't actually going to produce the car.
      dtrump_21
      • 2 Years Ago
      Audi what a company
      Eta Carinae
      • 2 Years Ago
      looks like the art of progress has stop has stopped.........
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Huh, I wonder how people got the idea it would be for sale? Oh yeah, that's right, Audi was pimping it all over the place and calling it a "production" car. http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/01/Audi-r8-e-tron-ev-lap-record-nurburgring/ It's hard to be too critical of Audi/VW for staying out of the EV market right now. It's not a profitable one yet. But since they are not serious about EVs they should stop greenwashing with pretend EVs.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Quote from Audi press release: 'The drive system of the Audi R8 e-tron that Markus Winkelhock drove to the world record corresponds in every detail with that of the production model that will come on the market at the end of the year.' What are we supposed to think on the market means?
      Klep
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wolfgang Dürheimer is officially the most German-y name ever. He better have the 'stache to match. (I'm not going to google him for fear he's clean-shaven. Still though, what a name.)
      ferps
      • 2 Years Ago
      I always had my doubts about this. The R8 platform is already fairly heavy for its small size, and it isn't designed to carry batteries anywhere in its chassis. Tesla has shown that a from-the-ground-up EV chassis makes a lot more sense as the packaging considerations are quite different. Audi has the cash and engineering resources to design such a platform, and they would probably be better off spending the time and money to do so.
        Dave
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ferps
        "....a from-the-ground-up EV chassis makes a lot more sense....." Probably. But a mid-engine chassis (like the Lotus Elise / Tesla Roadster / Audi R8 / Pontiac Fiero / Toyota MR2 is a good compromise. There is generally a large tunnel between the seats where the gas tank normally resides as well as plenty of open space both front and rear for a battery pack.
      drewpy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sad, considering the review i just saw of the Model S....sounds awesome...it looks as though the model s has a significant leg up on this Audi....maybe they just went back to the drawing board...
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