Audi is using this year's Pebble Beach Automotive Week in California to showcase its vision of the future — and it's not autonomous.
The automaker on Thursdsay unwrapped the PB18 e-tron concept car, an electric racer for use on or off the track. It features a movable seating area that can position the driver either on the side or in the center of the vehicle.
Audi called the project "Level Zero," a nod to the five levels of automation, since a driver is needed to fully operate the vehicle at all times. It's based off the standard architecture of a midengine sports car, but is powered by a solid-state battery and three electric motors that can go from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in just over 2 seconds. It has an electric range of just over 500 km (311 miles) in the WLTP cycle and can be charged without a cord.
The body of the concept is made of aluminum, carbon and mixed composites, Audi said. It comes with 22-inch wheels.
The PB18 e-tron features low-slung exterior styling but the most interesting feature is on the inside.
The inner monocoque shell, where the driver sits, can be slid laterally from the normal position to the center of the cockpit. Audi says that is the ideal location for the racetrack.
"We want to offer the driver an experience that is otherwise available only in a racing car like the Audi R18," Gael Buzyn, head of the Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California, said in a statement. "That's why we developed the interior around the ideal driver's position in the center. Nevertheless, our aim was to also give the PB18 e-tron a high degree of everyday usability, not just for the driver, but also for a potential passenger."
The vehicle's exterior design features a large C-pillar and sloping roofline. Audi says it's reminiscent of a shooting brake concept, which melds a coupe with the rear of a station wagon. A single red taillight extends along the entire back of the vehicle.