Audi is set to reveal a brand new family of concept cars this month at Monterey Car Week. The skysphere EV roadster is the first member of this new family. Thus far, Audi’s electric vehicles are beginning to become true competitors to Tesla’s stronghold on the EV market.
The Audi e-Tron GT is set to release soon as a 2022 model and reviews are already starting to trickle out. It seems that this one-off skysphere concept is Audi’s way of letting the world know they have much more variety coming to their EV line in the future.
The Audi skysphere is a transforming EV roadster
When it comes to this skysphere roadster concept, Audi was not satisfied with merely slapping an electric motor into an existing convertible chassis. The German brand elected to go further and build the skysphere roadster EV into a literal transforming car. This is not to say that the skysphere will turn into a robot warrior and protect the planet from Decepticons.
However, the Audi skysphere can physically change its wheelbase to suit a user’s chosen driving mode. In the default “sport” mode the skysphere would have a wheelbase of 4.94 meters (16.2 feet). But, when changed to “Gran Touring” mode, the wheelbase extends to 5.19 meters (17 feet). In Grand Touring mode the steering wheel and pedals retract into hidden compartments to provide maximum legroom. From there the skysphere becomes autonomous and will chauffeur the driver to their destination.
How much power does the skysphere have?
The Audi skysphere concept is equipped with a single electric motor mounted on the “powered” rear axle. That motor makes 465 kW of power (623.5 hp) and 750 Newton meters of torque (553.2 ft-lbs). The skysphere has a total weight of 1,800 kg (3,968 lbs) so its acceleration from 0 to 62 in just four seconds is impressive.
60 percent of the skysphere’s weight is over the rear axle. Included in that weight is the aforementioned rear-mounted electric motor. Most of the battery modules are positioned behind the main cabin as well. There are additional battery modules mounted between the seats in the “center tunnel” of the Skysphere chassis.
Battery capacity is “expected” to be “more than 80 kWh which Audi claims gives the skysphere “more than” 500 kilometers (310 miles) of range. That is 72 more miles of range than the Audi e-tron GT.
Is Audi going to sell the skysphere?
For now, it seems that the skysphere is purely meant to be a concept and not heading to production. The purpose of the Skysphere according to Audi is to illustrate its “vision for the progressive luxury segment of the future, in which the interior becomes an interactive space and the vehicle a platform for captivating experiences.”
In other words, some of the design and styling choices seen on the skysphere will likely make their way on to future production EVs from Audi. With Tesla’s roadster on the horizon, it makes sense that Audi would want to plant the seed now for a potential competitor. Time will tell which roadster makes it to the market first.