The world premiere of the Audi PB18 e-tron concept car in Pebble Beach
The all-electric Audi PB18 e-tron is a radically new look at a high-performance sports car. The wide and squat body of the concept car makes it clear that it has to expand the boundaries of the possible, and the streamlined forms dream of racing tracks. The general concept of the sports car is created in the new Audi design studio in Malibu, California, where the design of brand cars is constantly being improved in accordance with changing perceptions of the future. The concept car PB18 e-tron incorporates many years of experience in winning Audi in the Le Mans racing series.
The new concept was embodied by experts Audi Sport GmbH, a subsidiary of Audi. The abbreviated name "PB18 e-tron" encrypts the premiere location, Pebble Beach, and contains a hint of common genes with the highly successful sports car Audi R18 e-tron, performing in the LMP1 class of the Le Mans prototype racing series.
Already at first glance, the Audi PB18 e-tron is notable for its kinship with another spectacular concept car of the brand - Audi Aicon, presented last year. This is indicated not only by characteristic structural elements, for example, inclined side windows and enlarged wheel arches. Both concept cars, created in 2017 and 2018, are equipped with electric motors and a solid-state battery.
However, the difference in approaches to their use makes the concept cars diametrical opposites. While the Audi Aicon concept car was conceived as a fully autonomous luxury car for long trips - a kind of business jet for traveling on the road, the creators of the Audi e-tron PB18 were working on a radically new car for race tracks and public roads, able to give the true pleasure of driving. The list of its key characteristics is led by dynamics and bright emotions. Parameters such as torque, lateral overloads and perfect ergonomics determine each detail, and the orientation towards the driver goes to a new level.
Initially, the project of the show car was called "Level zero", which allowed it to differentiate it from other projects to develop cars with the level of automation 3, 4 and 5, which are now being given special attention in the company Audi. In the Audi PB18 e-tron, the management is entirely the responsibility of the driver, so the car does not have complex autopilot systems and functions to provide comfort, further increasing the mass of the vehicle. The driver's seat and cockpit are united in a single monocoque, which can be displaced in a horizontal plane.If there is no passenger in the cabin, the monocoque can be pushed into the center, like in real fireballs this position is ideal for racing races. This was made possible largely thanks to the electronic control of the pedals and steering, which allowed to abandon the mechanical connection of controls.
Gael Buzyn, head of the Audi Design Loft division in Malibu, where the Audi PB18 e-tron was created, spoke about the specifics of the concept car: "We want to offer the driver such feelings that he could only get before driving a real one racing car, for example, in the Audi R18. That's why we created the interior, starting from the fact that the ideal place for the driver is located in the center. Nevertheless, we also had to make the PB18 e-tron practical for everyday use: not only for the driver, but also for the passenger. "
If the driver's monocoque is slid sideways, the passenger compartment is freed in the passenger compartment, allowing the Audi PB18 e-tron to be controlled in the same way as an ordinary car. To get on the additional seat which is at a small height from the ground and equipped with a three-point seat belt, it is possible on the other side of the body. The side position of the monocoque facilitates the driver's entry and exit from the car; while the monocoque can be shifted to the threshold, if the door is open.
Since 2017 Audi has been creating a new family of promising cars, anticipating the next decade, in which electric vehicles designed to perform a wide variety of tasks will come to the fore. Models presented on the market today are a synthesis of qualities to meet conflicting requirements, and in practice this is often associated with the need to compromise.
In contrast, the currently created conceptual models will occupy a new, more specific position in an increasingly diversified market. The luxury Audi Aicon for long trips, presented at the IAA 2017, was the first car of its kind, and the Audi PB18 e-tron represents another step in this direction. In addition, other vehicle concepts are being developed and will be presented to the public in the coming months.