For the first time, Audi presented a design and technical concept car at Pebble Beach Automotive Week in Monterey, California. The all-electric Audi PB18 e-tron offers a radical vision for the high-performance sports car of tomorrow. The abbreviated name “PB18 e-tron” refers both to the Pebble Beach venue for the premiere and to the technological DNA it shares with the successful LMP1 racing car Audi R18 e-tron.
Broad and flat, visibly inspired by the wind tunnel and the race track, its very presence signals that it is destined to push boundaries. Its concept and exciting lines were created in the new Audi design studio in Malibu, California, where the brand’s design is consistently being updated for the future. The technical concept of the PB18 e-tron has benefitted from Audi’s many years of winning the Le Mans racing series. The experts at Audi Sport GmbH, the high-performance subsidiary of Audi, were responsible for implementation.
The PB18 e-tron package follows the traditional architecture of a mid-engine sports car with a cab that is positioned far forward. The car’s centre of gravity is located behind the seats and in front of the rear axle, which benefits the driving dynamics. This does not involve the engine-transmission unit, as in a car with a conventional drive system, but rather the battery pack.
The concept uses three powerful electric motors – one up front and two in the rear. The latter are centrally located between the steering knuckles, each directly driving one wheel via half-shafts. They deliver power output of up to 150kW to the front axle and 350kW to the rear – the PB18 e-tron is a true quattro, of course.
Maximum output is 500kW, and with boosting, the driver can temporarily mobilise up to 570kW. The combined torque of up to 830Nm allows acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in scarcely more than 2 seconds – a speed that differs only marginally from that of a current LMP1 prototype.
The front and rear have independent suspension on lower and upper transverse control arms, and, as commonly found in motor racing, a push-rod system on the front axle and pull-rod system on the rear – in both cases with adaptive magnetic ride shock absorbers. The suspension of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans racing car served as the model for the basic architecture of the PB18 e-tron concept car.