Audi unveils electric roadster concept, the Skysphere
Audi has taken the covers off its Skysphere concept vehicle ahead of its public debut at the exclusive Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend.
The first of the three ‘Sphere’ concepts to be revealed, the Skysphere is a real showstopper, offering an insight into Audi’s future design language and a preview of the technology the manufacturer aims to utilise moving forward.
A sporting two-door convertible that stands out with an unusually long bonnet and low-slung side profile, the Skysphere’s design was largely influenced by the Horch 853 roadster, the German marque’s final vehicle before it was taken over by Audi following the Second World War. But the visual inspiration from its predecessor is limited to the concept’s dimensions and typical proportions.
A look under the Horch reveals a straight-eight engine with a displacement of 5 litres. The Audi Skysphere on the other hand mainly has an electric drive component between the front axle and the windshield, such as the charger and the DC/DC converter, plus the actuators and electronic mechanical components for the adaptive wheelbase.
“Electric motors and a sophisticated mechanism with body and frame components that slide into one another make it possible to vary the wheelbase itself the exterior length of the car by 250 millimetres,” the company writes.
“At the same time, the vehicle’s ground clearance is adjusted by 10 millimetres to enhance comfort and driving dynamics.”
With the touch of a button, the driver can choose between two driving experiences – either they pilot their 4.94-meter-long e-roadster themselves in “Sports” mode with a reduced wheelbase, or they can choose to be chauffeured around in a 5.19-meter GT in the autonomous “Grand Touring” mode. In this mode, the steering wheel and pedals disappear under the dashboard, and the vehicle will safely drive the occupants to their destination.
The vehicle will also take care of everyday tasks that “go beyond the ride itself.” For example, the autonomous Audi Skysphere concept will pick up its passengers with information about their current destination and independently handle parking and charging.
“New technologies like electrification, digitalization, and autonomous driving gave us the opportunity to create an experience that goes way beyond the typical roadsters offer today,” said design project manager, Gael Buzyn.
Now the covers are off the Skysphere, Audi plans to roll out its next offering – the Grandsphere – at the IAA Motor Show in Munich this September. Following that, the SUV-styled Urbansphere will be revealed at an as-yet-undetermined date.
Source: Audi | Audi Skysphere concept – the future is wide open
12 August 2021