One of the highlights of Audi's Frankfurt auto show display is the e-Tron, an electronic high-performance sports car. The car looks like Audi's R8 supercar, while the packaging allows for the specific realities of an electric vehicle.
Why is Audi doing an electric car when fewer than 1,500 electric vehicles are currently registered in Germany, corresponding to only 0.035 percent of all registered vehicles?
Because it says its sees numerous advantages: Electric cars reduce the dependence of transportation and the economy on oil. They produce no direct exhaust emissions and thus ease the local burden on the environment.
Audi says electric drive systems also are more efficient than combustion engines, making them easier on the wallet. Audi says other strengths include sportiness and the fun they bring to driving with all of the torque available the moment you punch the throttle.
Audi acknowledges that there is still a lot of work to do before electric cars are ready for volume production. The company sees the greatest challenge as the integration of the energy storage system. Acceptable range and performance requires a heavy battery that takes up a lot of space.
Audi says it is taking a new approach to offset these disadvantages--an approach with a specific vehicle package, a systematic lightweight construction concept and an optimal configuration of all components for the electric drive.