To date, electric cars have largely been the golden children of the green movement. As sleek or stylish as they may be, they're often equally boring behind the wheel (the Tesla Roadster being a notable exception). But the future may hold as much in the way of performance and luxury for EVs as it does frumpy little econoboxes, and the Audi R8 e-tron, fresh from a demo run at Le Mans, is toward the front of that curve.
Soon it will move the bar even higher, participating in three stages of the "Silvretta E-Auto Rally Montafon 2010." The route will take the car through the Austrian state of Vorarlberg along a 104.08-mile path. Audi board member Michael Dick and factory Audi racer Lukas Luhr will drive the car. Interestingly, the car being used isn't the most recent e-tron concept, but the previous R8-styled version.
The four-motor, all-wheel-drive R8 e-tron delivers 313 horsepower, 4.8-second 0-62 mph sprints, and a top speed of 124 mph. Like the standard R8, power is biased toward the rear, with a roughly 30/70 percent front/rear split. Audi says the prototype/concept car exhibits "extremely neutral" handling, thanks in part to the four-motor system's ability to minutely and near-instantaneously add power where it's needed to keep the car on its intended course--without cutting speed.
As for the battery pack--a prime concern when heading out 100 miles in one direction, even with a factory support team at your back--it can be charged in just 2.5 hours from a 400-volt, 63-ampere source. Audi hasn't said how far the car can go on a single charge, or revealed the capacity of the pack, however.
If you want even more details, you can read the press release on page two.