Following three years of hard work and development with the engineers at Bosch as well as several smaller institutes, Audi has unveiled the final product of this joint project, the Audi F12 e Performance prototype. The car showcases new materials and EV technology that could trickle down into full production in the near future.
Based on the Audi R8 supercar, the vehicle is considered significant because its built in modules can be utilized in multiple types of electric vehicle applications including the featured “e sport” technology platform. However unlike the car that it is based on, the prototype ditches the V8 and V10 powerplants found in the “normal” R8 in favor of an all-electric setup. It boasts a 38+kWh battery and three potent electric motors which can be controlled independently depending on the vehicle’s speed. During low speed driving applications, the car is propelled only by the motor on the front axle, but when speeds increase, the two rear motors kick in to achieve a combined overall output of 204 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque: figures that are not bad for a pure research vehicle. In addition to the unique powerplant, project engineers also focused on innovating the driving experience and succeeded by rethinking the way the driver controls basic vehicle functions. Even though the transmission is operated via buttons on the center tunnel like the Fisker Karma, the rest of the F12’s features are controlled with a special tablet computer which can be removed from the center console if needed.
“From the very beginning, our initiative was the largest interdisciplinary research project in Germany for electric cars,” stated project manager Christian Allmann. “Everyone who was involved gained competence and provided valuable qualification among themselves according to the ‘open innovation’ principle, including for the employees at the companies and universities.”
While it is very unlikely the F12 e Performance will make it into mass production, Audi has stated that some of the prototype’s unique components could eventually make it into production and be used in future Audi products. Doing so would both highlight the innovations made with this project as well as enhance the company’s commitment to better fuel efficiency and EV technology.