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Audi moots electric versions of R8 and TT

Development was already advanced by the time Audi pulled the plug on its first electric supercar, setting a lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany with a 375bhp R8 e-tron test car – a time which was only four seconds adrift from the V8 petrol version.

But, at a cost of €1m per vehicle and with a 134-mile range, Audi decided the business case wasn't right to put the car into production, announcing last May that the project had been canned with only ten vehicles built.

Speaking to Headlineauto at the Geneva Motor Show this week, research and development chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg said the R8 e-tron was back under consideration as a low volume technological showcase for the brand’s electric drivetrains.

‘When I joined [Audi] it [the R8 e-tron] was cancelled because of the business case and the range,’ he said. ‘But we have solved the range, which is now up to 450 kilometes (280 miles), and I am fighting with my team to have it.’

If it becomes a reality, the R8 e-tron will be part of the second-generation R8 range which launches next year on a platform shared with Lamborghini. Hackenberg confirmed this can accommodate an e-tron drivetrain, but declined to comment on whether it would be a pure electric or plug-in hybrid model, according to Headlineauto.

The new TT, based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform as found in the A3, would also be easy to equip with an e-tron drivetrain. Audi unveiled a 202bhp A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid at last year’s Geneva show, with CO2 emissions of 35g/km on the combined cycle, but the drivetrain has been deployed on the Golf GTE first.

‘We could have it if there is a market,’ he said. ‘The TT shooting brake [concept] at Detroit had this layout, and MQB makes it possible.’

Volkswagen Group has high ambitions for electrically-powered models – aiming to launch 40 electrically-powered vehicles, covering every sector in which it competes, as it pursues market-leading sales in the electromobility sector by 2018.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

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