Audi Two-Seat Electric Concept Debuts In Frankfurt

Audi Two-Seat Electric Concept Debuts In Frankfurt

By DANNY KING September 13, 2011

Audi Urban Concept Frank debut.jpg

Audi this week is debuting its take on the city car idea by showing off a battery-electric two-seat concept car, in which the seats are slightly offset in order to minimize body width and the wheels are extended racecar-style for a more striking look. Audi’s “urban concept,” which is being unveiled this week at the Frankfurt Auto Show, “combines elements of a racecar, a roadster, a fun car and a city car into a radical new concept,” Audi said in a statement.

The car, whose roof slides back to allow for entry as well as a semi-open-air driving experience, has an all-electric motor that: can go about 45 miles between charges and supplies 20 horsepower, provides as much as 35 foot-pounds of torque, and can accelerate the car from a standstill to its governed top speed of 62 miles per hour in about 17 seconds. The vehicle is 127 inches long – which puts its between a Smart ForTwo and a Mini Coopersize-wise – and weighs 1,058 pounds, or about 750 pounds less than the Smart two-seater. The car also has an unusual 1+1 seating layout where the passenger on the right is set about a foot back from the driver’s seat. That setup allows for better shoulder and elbow room for both occupants while narrowing the car’s width to about 66 inches, or just four inches wider than the Smart despite the Audi’s freestanding wheel layout.

Audi, which says the battery can be fully recharged from a 400-volt charger in 20 minutes and from a 230-volt device in about an hour, isn’t divulging details as far as a possible launch. Still, the German automaker, which has for the past few years favored diesel power as a way to boost its fleetwide fuel economy, is taking steps toward vehicle electrification. Audi said last month that it would debut a hybrid-electric version of the A8 sedan in Europe next year (no plans for the U.S. as of yet). That car will pair a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor in a parallel-hybrid set-up that will have 245 horsepower and will get about 37 miles per gallon as measured by European standards.

Audi last November completed a $90-million, 150,000-square-foot development and testing center for electric-drive systems at its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, and had announced plans to deploy a test fleet of 20 Audi A1 e-tron vehicles. Audi this year is also planning to start limited sales of its e-tron sports car, which will likely be priced about $160,000, has a 0-60 mph acceleration time of approximately 4.5 seconds and delivers roughly 500 pound-feet of torque.

Danny King:  is a frequent contributor to

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