The Audi Sport division is working on an electric super sedan for launch in 2020, tentatively named the e-tron GT.
However, this model isn't a replacement for the R8 supercar which sits at the top of the Audi Sport lineup.
The information was revealed by Audi Head of Product Communication Peter Oberndorfer in an interview with Motoring published Wednesday.
“We consider everything at the moment but I personally believe we need a little bit more battery development,” Oberndorfer replied when quizzed about an electric supercar.
Audi R8 e-tron Piloted Driving concept, 2015 Consumer Electronics Show Asia
Better batteries is a problem Audi knows all too well. The automaker came out with an R8 e-tron electric supercar based on the second-generation R8 in 2015, but the car didn't perform any better than a Tesla Model S costing a fraction of its $1.1 million asking price and was axed after less than a year on the market.
Oberndorfer said lithium-ion technology can't provide the range, charge times and low-weight characteristics an Audi electric supercar requires but pointed to solid-state batteries possibly being the solution.
“Our development boss Peter Mertens is speaking of solid-state batteries, which are still a few years away, but I think it would be an advantage if it will be developed, so that batteries are getting lighter and need less space,” he said. “There is some progress with lithium-ion but I think the real progress will come maybe with solid-state or something similar.”
Solid-state batteries promise improved safety, range and charge times for electric cars compared to liquid-type batteries currently in use. This is because they're less prone to overheating or fire, and they’re also much denser, meaning more capacity in a smaller space.
Audi's first volume electric car launches on August 30 in the form of the e-tron SUV. It will be followed shortly by a more coupe-like e-tron Sportback (2019), e-tron GT sedan (2020), compact car (2020), and two small SUVs (2021).