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.
At this point in time a replacement for the R8 is yet to be decided but one possible solution is an electric supercar with solid-state batteries to outclass the Tesla Roadster and Rimac C_Two.
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).