Say Goodbye to the Short-Lived Audi R8 e-tron

say goodbye to the short-lived audi r8 e-tron – DOC653118

Launched to much fanfare at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Audi R8 e-tron, the all-electric version of the German supercar, is no more. That’s the word from Car and Driver, which claims that Audi has pulled the plug on its high-performance EV, with production to stop as soon as the German brand delivers the last few units.

An ambitious project that goes back all the way to 2009, the R8 e-tron goes into the history books after a little more than 18 months on the market, during which it never appeared in the R8’s online configurator and had no sales literature. What’s more, the sales process was also rather awkward for a car built by a mainstream automaker, with potential customers being referred by dealers to Audi’s headquarters.

According to the same report, Audi built less than 100 e-trons since its introduction in the first quarter of 2015. The €1 million (about $1.1 million) price tag and the fact that it was sold in Europe only may also explain the extremely low output.

“We could have built more than we did,” an unnamed Audi representative told Car and Driver without giving any details as to why the e-tron is being discontinued.

But no matter the reasons, the fact that the all-electric R8 spent fewer than two years on the market isn’t that surprising given the car’s tumultuous history. Originally unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show as a concept car, it was supposed to go into production a couple of years later. However, when Wolfgang Durheimer took over at Audi, the project was shelved. It was put back on track when Durheimer was replaced by Ulrich Hackenberg, but delayed until the second-generation R8 was introduced in 2015. At first designed with a complex four-motor layout, the e-tron was eventually launched with only two motors on the rear axle, making it the only road-legal R8 with rear-wheel drive instead of Quattro AWD.

The electric drivetrain was rated at 456 horsepower and 679 pound-feet of torque, could hit 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, and returned a range of up to 280 miles on a single charge.

Why it Matters?

It’s really sad to see the R8 e-tron go after such a short stint on the market, but maybe this is something Audi had planned from the very beginning. There’s no official word as to why the project was canned, but it could be that Audi found the project to be unfeasible in its current form. And, even though the R8 might leave its all-electric sibling behind, a new e-tron performance model could be underway. The R8 e-tron is proof that Audi can deliver a potent electric sports car and a successor of some sort might be in the pipeline as we speak.

Gallery Audi R8 E-Tron