Intelligent Energy

Audi's 'staggering' urban EV concept

Audi's 'staggering' urban EV concept

Posting in Design

German auto maker provides a peak at a get-around-town electric concept car that combines classic and fighter pilot looks with an unusual seating arrangement.

German premium car marker Audi has released details of a small get-around-town electric vehicle, and its most striking feature is perhaps not under the hood or in the sporty/functional look that seems to combine classic 1940s racecar with space age curves.

Rather, take a look inside (below right), and Audi has come up with one of those simple modifications to design norms. Instead of squashing the driver and passenger together in this two-seater concept car, it has staggered the passenger seat so that it sits to the side of the driver’s, but slightly behind.

Put another way, the car has a single, passenger-side back seat. In a press release, Audi describes the vehicle as a “1+1-seat, ultra-light car for congested urban spaces.”

I’m not sure why Audi didn’t just cram the two together and give the passenger the option to glide back –thus providing more potential rear storage area. Maybe the width of the interior is so narrow that it wouldn’t have allowed that. The car’s futuristic wrap-around dashboard and windshield does indeed suggest sardine dimensions.

With a touch of fighter pilot flare, driver and passenger enter the car by pulling back the roof and stepping in. It’s not clear whether they can then leave the roof open.

The press release notes, “The Audi urban concept car is not descended from any previous model – its development is based on the strict principles of lightweight construction, efficiency and reduction. The result is a concept car with no unnecessary weight, and one that concentrates on the pure essence of dynamic motion.”

Other features include 21-inch wheels that Audi describes as “free-standing” – meaning onlookers can watch the wheels bounce and strut around, racecar style. Audi has designed the body with carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. A lithium ion battery powers two electric motors.

“The Audi urban concept combines elements of a racing car, a roadster, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept,” Audi states.

A surreptitious YouTube video captures the car’s unique look better than the rendition above – if the video is indeed of the concept car in question. Have a look about 40 seconds in and you’ll see what I mean about the 1940s.

Audi released no performance specifications. Word is it will unveil the car at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Images: Audi

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Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure