DETROIT -- At the auto show here, Audi AG unveiled a little brother to the racy e-tron electric sports car shown at the Frankfurt auto show in September. Although the automaker made no commitment to produce the car, it said it would gauge consumer reaction to make a decision.
Audi already has said it will produce the larger e-tron in 2012. The e-tron investment is part of Audi's $10.5 billion r&d expenditure between 2009 and 2012, of which $8.5 billion will be spent on future products and next-generation drivetrains, said Rupert Stadler, Audi CEO.
The e-tron shown in Detroit could be the little brother of the R8 supercar. Smaller than the TT coupe, the e-tron is propelled by two 150-kilowatt electric motors, powered by lithium ion batteries.
As impressive as the car's futuristic drivetrain is its construction. The e-tron has an all-aluminum spaceframe, while the doors, hood and trunklid are made from carbon fiber.
The e-tron's unveiling underscored Audi's stated commitment to accelerate hybrid-vehicle development. Bypassing mild hybrid development, Audi will unveil full hybrid versions of the Q5 crossover and A8 sedan later this year, Stadler said.
He said: “These vehicles have more customer relevance and more connection to future full-electric vehicles.”