Electric vehicles have an image problem. Despite Tesla’s best efforts to make them “cool”, EVs are still derided by petrolheads/gearheads for their appearance and driving experience, often using slurs like “milk floats” and “golf carts”. With its latest concept, however, Audi is aiming for something much more desirable, but the electrification is not the most surprising thing about it.
The Audi skysphere concept was unveiled at Monterey Car Week yesterday, and the electric aspects are not that revolutionary. Audi mentioned a 465kW (624hp) motor, surprisingly just driving the rear wheels (not all four), and 80kWh battery providing a range of over 300 miles. Acceleration will be 0-60mph in 4 seconds, which seems pedestrian now that the Tesla Model S Plaid boasts a 60mph sprint of 2 seconds, and a Tesla Model 3 Performance can do it in 3.1 seconds. So far, so run-of-the-mill.
But then there is the design. The low-slung swoopy Batmobile-like looks are guaranteed to turn heads (assuming they make it out of the concept stage). The inspiration for the skysphere was allegedly the Horch 853 roadster of the 1930s, appropriate given that an example of this car won the Concourse d’Elegance in 2009 at Pebble Beach – where the Monterey Car Week takes place. The Horch is a rare car, and that show winner eventually sold for over $5 million in 2012. The inspiration was merely visual, however, as the new Audi is no classic car throwback