Audi has recently started on its path to reveal a streak of concept cars that are meant to provide a glimpse at their vision for an autonomous EV future. Things kicked off for Audi when it announced the skysphere concept at Monterey Car Week last month. The skysphere is an autonomous EV concept that can change its wheelbase to create a more comfortable environment for passengers when the car is in autonomous mode.
The skysphere garnered much attention in an environment with many other OEMs revealing wild concepts and hypercars. That is quite an accomplishment for the German brand. They promised that the skysphere was just the beginning. They are making good on that promise by announcing the next concept called the “grandsphere,” which is set to debut at the IAA Mobility show in Munich.
The Audi grandsphere is designed to provide a “first-class” experience
The Audi grandsphere is all about transporting passengers to their destination in the most luxurious, comfortable, and safe way possible with bleeding-edge tech at the forefront. The doors of the Audi grandsphere concept are reversed, so all four doors open out toward the passengers; there is no B-pillar. The Audi grandsphere can recognize passengers with something called “pathway identification.” When the passengers are detected, the doors open up automatically, and ambient lighting is turned on to welcome them.
The driver and passenger positions are automatically detected. A suite of personal comfort features – such as the climate control settings and seat positions – are adjusted to the individual passenger preference. Simultaneously, the infotainment system pulls up the passengers’ most recently used apps and services then resume them automatically. For example, if a passenger was watching a video on a tablet as they were entering the cabin, the Audi grandsphere would continue the video automatically on an internal screen.
The Audi grandsphere is a large vehicle
The Audi grandsphere has a large footprint. At 17.6 feet long, 6.6 feet wide, and 4.6 feet high, the concept’s measurements signal how far Audi was willing to go to emphasize passenger comfort. The wheelbase (10.5 feet) is even longer than the ultra-luxurious Audi A8. The size of the grandsphere becomes more surprising when considering that the interior is meant for just four people in a 2+2 layout. That is a lot of space and could easily hold more dimensionally. But the Audi grandsphere is not about utilitarianism; it is about a luxury experience. The exterior of the grandsphere was purposely designed to look like something closer to a GT vehicle rather than a sedan. We are somewhat confused by that since it seems that by all rights, Audi is positioning the grandsphere as the ultimate luxury EV rather than a performance vehicle.
Drive system, charging, and range
The tech platform on which the Audi grandsphere is built is dubbed the “Premium Platform Electric,” or PPE. The platform was designed by Audi exclusively for their electric vehicles. A major of PPE is a battery module between the axles with a capacity of approximately 120 kWh of energy. The battery layout on the Audi grandsphere is flat as the car’s entire base is allocated for battery storage.
The Audi grandsphere concept has two electric motors: one on the front axle and one on the rear. The motors deliver a total output of 710 horsepower 708 ft-lbs of torque.
The grandsphere has a theoretical range of 466 miles and utilizes an 800-volt charging system. The quick 270 kW charging system allows the grandsphere to gain 186 miles of range in just 10 minutes.
While these features and capabilities sound impressive, we have to remember that the grandsphere is just a concept. It will be interesting to see how much of this technology will make its way to Audi’s future cars.