Audi kills its R8 e-tron electric car with less than 100 units built

Audi R8 e-tron
Talk about anti-climactic.

Audi spent years waffling over whether to put the R8 e-tron, an electric version of the German firm’s R8 supercar, into production. It finally did, unveiling the production model at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. But less than two years later, Audi is pulling the plug on the R8 e-tron.

In the time since it went on sale, Audi has built less than 100 copies of the R8 e-tron, according to Car and Driver. Audi said it could have built more, but the automaker didn’t exactly go out of its way to promote its production electric car. Audi reportedly never published sales literature for the Europe-only vehicle, and didn’t include the e-tron in its online configurator. Moreover, cars were built to order, so it’s not like customers were going to see one just sitting on a dealer lot. Then there was the price: a reported $1.1 million.

The decision to kill off the R8 e-tron comes after one of the longest and most convoluted development programs in recent automotive history. The R8 e-tron was first shown as a concept car at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, and the car was an on-again, off-again affair for the next few years.

Executives’ conflicting feelings about the car delayed development for so long that the process actually spanned two generations of R8. The original concept was based on the first-generation model, while the production version was based on the current, second-generation model.

Read more: Audi is all charged up about Formula E electric-car racing

In the interim, Audi ditched the concept’s four-motor layout for a setup that used two electric motors on the rear axle, making the e-tron the only R8 variant with rear-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive. The production car produced 456 horsepower and 679 pound-feet of torque. Audi quoted a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.9 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 130 or 155 mph.

That was in spite of a hefty 4,056-pound curb weight, compared 3,428 lbs for a base R8 V10. The extra weight was largely due to the 92 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which Audi said provided a range of 280 miles. That was a major improvement over the 134 miles of the first e-tron prototype, and a decent figure by current standards.

Audi’s next electric car won’t be as sexy as the R8 e-tron, but it will be more ambitious. It’s an electric SUV based on the e-tron quattro concept from the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Audi has promised a range of around 300 miles, and plans to begin production in 2018. Unlike the R8 e-tron, the SUV is intended to be a fairly high-volume model.


Riding along in Audi’s e-tron, the electric SUV born to slay Teslas

The E-Tron is Audi’s first mass-market electric vehicle, and we got to take a ride in this Tesla-fighting crossover over a month before the official unveiling. Read on to see how the E-Tron stacks up against the competition, so far.

You’ll need $68,000 to land a tech-rich 2019 Audi A7 in your driveway

Have you been eyeing the latest rendition of Audi’s tech-savvy A7 Sportback? Well the deal just got a little sweeter as Ingolstadt’s finest just announced the pricing list for the new 2019 Audi A7.

Take a closer look at the Faraday Future FF 91 with this virtual tour

The Faraday Future FF 91 electric crossover boasts some impressive statistics, but Faraday still hasn't delivered any to customers. In the meantime, take a virtual walk around this Tesla-fighting electric car.

Hold on to your butts: These are the fastest cars in the world

Think your car is unbelievably fast? Think again. From wind-cheating bodywork to powerful engines, these cars were designed for the singular pursuit of speed (and it shows).

These are the best 2019 wagons on sale today in the U.S.

While minivans seemed to have fallen out of favor for the SUV and the crossover SUV with just a few available today, wagons remain relatively popular, particularly with a strong cult following. These are the best wagons on sale today that…

Alfa Romeo’s working on a new 8C plug-in hybrid supercar

Despite the untimely and sad death of former FCA CEO, Sergio Marchionne, the show must go on and Alfa Romeo's reportedly working on a new mid-engined, gas-electric plug-in hybrid supercar called the 8C.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Head Tesla engineer leaves for Apple to possibly reboot self-driving car

Apple's self-driving car project could get the reboot as a former chief engineer for Tesla Motors left the company to go back to Apple. Doug Field, who worked at Tesla from 2013 until last month, will go back to Apple.

NYC just dealt a major blow to Uber and Lyft

New York City regulators placed a cap on operational licenses it grants for Uber and Lyft drivers. The city says it's an attempt to try and save the city’s integral Yellow Cab system after several cab drivers committed suicide.

Take a Don Draper-worthy road trip in this vintage $225,000 RV

Everything from the unique shape down to the luxury finishes makes this fully restored travel trailer worth the price. It's even been signed by Chuck Pelly.

How autonomous ridesharing will reshape our cars, cities, and lives

Ridesharing is a growing phenomenon, and it’s closely linked with developments in autonomous and connectivity technology. In the coming decades, shared mobility will even change the way cities around the world develop.

NHTSA investigating Ford F-150 seat belt fires, may recall 1.4 million trucks

The NHTSA is investigating reports of fires in five Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigation is exploring whether seatbelt pretensioners caused the fires during crashes and if a recall is necessary.

2019 Honda Civic sedan and coupe add more standard driver-assist tech

The 2019 Honda Civic compact sedan and coupe get a handful of updates to stay fresh, including exterior styling tweaks, standard Honda Sensing driver aids, and a new Sport trim level.
Product Review

2019 Chevrolet Silverado is the biggest and best Silverado ever

There’s a lot to tell in our 2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive review, from new engine options, new chassis and suspension design, new bed and tailgate features, new trailering tools, and new trim levels. Dive in and learn.