Here's how big Tesla Motors has become in the past year: every established luxury automaker seems to be pushing out an electric or high-concept hybrid that inevitably gets described as a "Tesla Fighter." Audi's going to do it with an all-electric 2016 R8 e-tron. For real this time.
In addition to the specs on the V10 and V10 Plus R8, Audi also released a few details on the long-awaited electric version of the R8, though they did not release any photos. Powered by a high-voltage lithium-ion battery, the R8 e-tron generates 456 horsepower and a whopping 679 pound-feet of torque.
Audi says it can do zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, all with a range of 280 miles, about double its first version. In addition, charging happens in "significantly less than two hours," they say.
More importantly, Audi says they're actually going to build it this time... kind of. The company says the R8 e-tron will be built "upon customer request" this summer, so it's only going to be built for the people who want it, not for series production.
That's a step up from the old R8 e-tron, which ended up being a kind of glorified science experiment. It first showed up as an R8-ish concept in 2009 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. In 2012 it set an 8:09.099 time at the Nürburgring, making it the fastest "series production electric car" to lap the course at the time. Despite starring in Iron Man 3, the R8 e-tron entered into a "Will they or won't they?" holding pattern for the next year until it was ultimately canceled.
But the new R8 e-tron, improved in every way over the car that came before it, and it will be a long-awaited entry into the electric game from Audi, which has lagged behind Tesla and BMW in this regard. It should also serve as a sign of things to come.