Audi debuted the second-generation R8 earlier this week, but in our opinion, the big news wasn’t in regards to the 610 horsepower 5.2-liter V10 version of the supercar, but the long-awaited, all-electric R8 e-tron, which will be available by special order starting this year.
We were supposed to receive an e-tron variant of the R8 based on the first-generation car, however Audi prolonged the development of the emissions free exotic as they felt its range wasn’t yet up to consumers’ standards. For the production version, they’ve upped the battery capacity from 49 kWh to a Tesla-topping 92 kWh, providing an approximate range of 279.6 miles, up from a previous 133.1 miles.
Audi also managed to squeeze more power out of the electric motors for the production car. At 456 horsepower, the R8 e-tron is down on power compared to its V10 powered counterpart, but trumps it in the torque department with 679 lb-ft. The sprint from 0-62 mph is over with in 3.9 seconds, which comes before hitting an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph.
The e-tron’s large T-shaped battery is structurally integrated into the center section and behind the occupant cell, supporting the “dynamics” of the car and keeping the center of gravity low, Audi says. The battery is charged via a special‘Combined Charging System’, which can switch between direct and alternating charge currents, providing a full charge in less than two hours.
Audi will build you an R8 e-tron this year if you ask nicely (and fork over a likely significant sum of money) but if you have a family, you might want to wait. The automaker said the findings from the R8 e-tron’s development will help in creating a similar vehicle “with a sedan character,” which translated from PR speak means ‘an electric four-door is on its way.‘