A few days ago, a mysterious Audi prototype was spotted in Berlin decked in camouflage, leading to the proverbial question as to what kind of car it was. Fortunately, the mystery didn’t last long.
The German automaker has released the first details of its new Urban E-Tron Concept that will be gracing us with its presence at the coming Frankfurt Motor Show. It took a while for Audi to release all the information of the Urban E-Tron Concept, but thankfully, did so just in time for the opening of Frankfurt, complete with all the performance numbers that might not tickle the fancies of those looking for some speed to go with the cool city car concept.
UPDATE 11/02/2011: We thought the Audi Urban E-Tron Concept was a huge waste of time because there was no chance Audi would ever actually put it into production. Turns out, we were absolutely wrong.
Audi has just announced that the Urban Concept will indeed go into production and that it will be limited to only 999 units. Sales will begin in 2013 at a starting price of £8,800 or about $14,000 at the current exchange rates.
Check out more details on the Audi Urban E-Tron Concept after the jump.
The whole concept is designed to look the part of a sleek and futuristic city car that’s built on a 1+1 set-up. It measures 3.219 meters long, 1.678 meters wide, and 1.189 meters tall and comes with a body that’s built using a central carbon fiber monococque with a canopy that slides horizontally. This canopy allows both the driver and the passenger to enter the car. According to Audi, the design cues for the Urban concept are largely new, but also evoke details from their rich history of open-wheel racing and cutting-edge design.
The Audi Urban E-Tron Concept also carries a set of free-standing lightweight 21" wheels with the same blade design that we’ve come to see from all of Audi’s E-tron models. These tires are then wrapped around 125/60 tires in the front and 145/50 in the rear.
As for the cockpit and its aforementioned 1+1 set-up, Audi constructed the former using a mixture of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer - a material that was designed to integrate the undercarriage of both seats - and aluminum. As a future iteration of a city car, Audi approached its design with a minimalistic state-of-mind that’s "subjugated to the strict dictates of ultra-lightweight construction."
The driver will be seated on the front left side and can adjust the positions of the aluminum pedals and the steering column for a custom driving position that can be changed depending on the driver’s preference. Other interior details on the Urban E-Tron Concept include two large air vents, a new durable and water repellent flooring textile that was developed for athletic shoes, and satellite controls for the heater.
The Audi Urban E-Tron Concept is powered by a pair of rear-mounted electric motors mated through a single-speed transmission which together produce a continuous output of 20 horsepower and 35 lb/ft of torque. Just behind the seats, a lithium-ion battery that can store 7.1 kWh of usable energy is mounted with a complete recharge taking approximately 20 minutes with 400-volt three-phase current, and about an hour’s worth of charge with a 230-volt household current. The E-Tron Concept carries performance figures that won’t wow you - a 0-62 mph in 16.9 seconds and a top speed of 62 mph - but that’s not what the car is all about, anyway.
Will It Be The Future?
Audi has resisted on saying whether there’s a production version of the Urban E-Tron Concept in the horizon, but we’re not going to hold our breath for anything in the immediate future. Maybe sometime down the road, but don’t expect it to get the green light for production in the next five years or so.
It’s small enough to be an ideal two-person city car
Sliding canopy looks cool
No performance capabilities
Crammed interior space
No plans of production