2016 Audi R8 e-tron Electric Discontinued After Poor Sales
Was exorbitantly priced at €1 million (INR 7.35 Crores); Less than 100 units were sold.
In an abrupt ending to an ambitious and futuristic project, the production of the Audi R8 e-tron all-electric supercar has been halted, just after a year on the European market. The car was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, after almost six years of teasing the possibility of an electric R8.
“We could have built more than we did,” says an Audi representative in an interview to Car and Driver, also hinting that fewer than 100 units were built. It seems that the production of the R8 e-tron did not receive much attention in the company’s priority due to poor sales. The e-tron was never marketed widely to general customers either. It was available only to interested European customers who also are also asked to take the blame for any failures.
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Further, all-electric R8 was too costly at a price tag of 1 million Euros (approx. INR 7.35 Crores). The car, built on the same platform as the petrol-powered R8, featured two electric motors mounted on the rear wheels, powered by T-shaped 92kWh Lithium-ion battery pack. The electric powertrain delivered a maximum output of 456 bhp and 460 Nm of torque, with a driving range of 450 kms (280 miles) on a single charge. The car’s 0-100 kmph performance was claimed at just 3.9 seconds, with a limited top speed of 210 kmph. The R8 e-tron also missed the Quattro all-wheel drive system.
The R8 e-tron episode does have parallels in the industry. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe electric drive – Daimler’s magnificent 740 hp battery sportscar – was not successful either, with analysts predicting total sales not exceeding double-digit figures since its launch in 2013. Both the company now realise that they were too early with electric sportscar.
Nevertheless, it is unlikely that they abandon their electric supercar projects once and for all. With Germany asking for an improbable ban on sales of internal combustion engine in the European Union by 2030 just this week, it seems prospective that battery-electric cars are not early as it appears.