Electric Sportscars

Audi's New R8 Puts Tesla on the Run

New Audi R8 Geneva DPA
The new Audi R8 e-tron can do 0-62 MPH in 3.9 seconds, not as quick as the new Tesla S P85D, but enough to give the Californian a run for its money.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, and VW subsidiary Audi are fast developing plug-in hybrids and electric cars to catch up with market pioneer Tesla.

  • Facts


    • Later this year Audi will unveil the Q8, a fully electric SUV with a range of 500 kilometers.
    • Only about 12,000 electric cars and 80,000 hybrids have been registered in Germany to date.
    • Carmakers are teaming up with electricity providers to build a nationwide network of charging stations.
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This year’s motor show at Geneva is a celebration of power and muscle – and the new Audi R8 V10 is one of the stars of the show. As a clear sign of the times, Audi’s latest animal will also be available in an electronic version, the R8 e-tron.

This high-powered sports car is the first one to give the Tesla S some serious competition in the luxury electronic vehicle sector. The R8 e-tron, which delivers a range of 430 kilometers (270 miles) on one charge, is no slouch compared to its V10 combustion brother either, going from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (0 to 62 miles per hour) in 3.9 seconds.

The R8 e-tron is a clear signal that VW subsidiary Audi is getting serious about alternative engines. In an interview with Handelsblatt, R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg confirmed that the company would unveil an electric SUV this year with a range of 500 kilometers (313 miles).

When Mr. Hackenberg arrived in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, in July 2013 to assume his new position as R&D chief, he didn’t like what he saw. His predecessor had suspended work on the R8 e-tron because of poor battery range.

Mr. Hackenberg, a close associate of VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, had the project restarted immediately and additional electric cars developed. The results are being unveiled this year. As well as presenting the R8 e-tron in Geneva, the automaker will unveil the fully electric SUV, the Q8, at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September. It is also expected to feature an autonomous driving system.

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