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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Audi Urban Concept – Auto Shows

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Audi Urban Concept - Auto ShowsAudi imagines an e-tron for the city.BY DAVID GLUCKMAN
August 2011


Audi Urban Concept

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Audi is to be commended for avoiding the use of the word “mobility” in describing the Frankfurt-bound Urban concept. That oft-employed term has a way of reducing motoring to a means of getting from place to place, something with which the final portion of this publication’s title conflicts. Audi’s latest future-car vision promises to continue to involve the driver in the process, but do it in a smaller, lighter, more maneuverable way. And it’s electric, of course.

Audi bills the Urban concept as “a completely new kind of concept car,” but it brings to mind other hyper-efficient VW pods from the recent past, namely the Up!, as well as the L1 and XL1 “1-Liter” cars. Those and the Messerschmitt KR200.

In this Audi, two passengers sit in a fighter-jet-looking cockpit, complete with a rollback canopy in place of doors. The chassis is made of carbon fiber, into which the seat buckets are molded; the steering wheel and pedals adjust to the driver. The seats are staggered, as in the XL1, to afford a little more shoulder room in the narrow vehicle. Twenty-one inch wheels stick out from the body and are covered by cycle fenders with built-in LEDs.

Unlike the turbo-diesel 1-Liter concepts, the Urban deals in Audi’s not-yet-realized electric promise. The vehicle itself isn’t billed as an e-tron (it doesn’t quite have the stun factor of the early e-tron concepts), but it does employ two electric motors that carry that branding. A lithium-ion battery pack serves as the power supply.

While we like what we hear so far, we haven’t been told too much about this concept. Audi will wait until the Frankfurt show in September to fully unveil the car and share more details. Here’s hoping the “M-word” doesn’t come up at the press conference.


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