Audi has been undergoing a lot of change in the past year, and according to a report in Wired, the automaker’s new electric head of research and development may be scratching plans to sell an electric Audi R8 e-tron. The electric supercar originally debuted at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show, and continued to make headlines and generate interest. But the limitations of current battery packs may worry Audi.
The automaker has said it plans to introduce a series of plug-in hybrid models over the coming years, essentially alleviating the issue of range anxiety. Like the Chevy Volt, the cars will run on purely electric power, and once that power has been sapped a traditional gasoline engine kicks in. Many automakers have been hesitant to produce purely electric vehicles, and sales of EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiEV have fallen short. But plans for the Audi R8 e-tron—which would face competition from Tesla and Fisker—are not completely scratched; apparently ten models will be produced for internal research.
Automotive.com’s take: The Audi R8 e-tron would share the stunning looks of its gasoline-powered sibling, and we’re all in favor of that. But considering the myriad problems faced by automakers in the early going of the electric sports and super cars, holding off may be the sound move for the time being. Whenever Audi can deliver an extended range electric super car, there will be buyers at the ready. And with the current development of battery packs and charging technologies, that time may not be far off.