Audi Sportback Concept - Click above for a high-res image gallery
It's easy to focus on the electrification of the automobile as the next big step towards reducing our fossil fuel consumption, but a lot has to happen before we're all driving electric vehicles. For instance, just as is the case with gas-powered automobiles, the range and performance of EVs will at least be somewhat dependent on the overall weight of the vehicle's platform. That's probably why Michael Dick, Audi's director of technical development, is so enthusiastic about the German automaker's efforts to reduce the weight of its modular longitudinal platform, which makes up the basis for most of its passenger cars.
How much difference can a little change of weight make? According to Dick, Audi has an experimental lightweight S5 that can lap the Nürburgring eight seconds faster than the normal S5, despite having a 100 horsepower disadvantage. So important is the ongoing weight reduction that Audi is now assessing its progress on a "euros per gram of CO2 reduction" basis. In addition to going on a diet, Dick says Audi is also hard at work on hybrid and electric powertrains for its passenger cars.