Earlier this year, Audi decided to cancel production plans
for its R8 e-tron electric sports car, citing the high cost of the battery and limited driving range as the reasons behind the decision. Making that decision was former R&D chief Wolfgang Dürheimer, who shortly after was replaced by Ulrich Hackenberg
, citing a high-ranking insider at Audi, is now reporting that production of the R8 e-tron is back on the table due to advancements in lithium-ion battery technology that has allowed engineers to almost double the range of the car (from 133 miles to 248 miles).
“Our engineers and technicians are further developing the car and its electric drive system,” the insider is alleged to have said. “The range has grown significantly, allowing the potential for a small scale production.”
Changes to the battery are said to include an alternative chemical process, which has helped yield an energy density greater than the original 48.6-kWh rating. A rear-wheel-drive setup and lightweight construction are expected to remain, as should the dual-electric motor design which delivers a combined 280 kilowatts (374 horsepower).
According to the insider, production is scheduled to start in the second half of 2014, meaning the car will likely be based on the second-generation R8
which is also due next year. Sales would likely be restricted in the same way that Volkswagen limits sales of its advanced XL1 plug-in hybrid
For more on the R8 e-tron, including driving impressions, check out our first drive report
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