Audi has been teasing a new electric supercar which will be showcased at the Pebble Beach Motor Show. The PB-18 e-Tron is one of the three reveals under the Volkswagen Group umbrella.
First off, what’s with the name? Audi didn’t put too much thought into coming up with a name for the car. The designation is quite simple: PB stands for Pebble Beach, and 18 refers to the current year, i.e. 2018. With the unimaginative first part of the name out of the way, the second part is also a bit polarizing. We’ll come to why it is so later.
The Audi PB-18 e-Tron is an all-electric supercar concept the German carmaker is bringing to Pebble Beach. It derives its technology from the R18 e-Tron LMP racer that won Le Mans this year with its hybrid powertrain. Audi claims that the R18’s technology helped the designers find “solutions for various details” for the concept car. The press release is very vague when it comes to speaking about the PB-18, making us think the car is at least three to four years away from entering production, if not more.
Audi says the PB-18 e-Tron is a “design study for a puristic sports car of the future.” Perhaps the company is aiming to rake in driving enthusiasts with the wordplay in the press release, because purists of this era measure a sports car as much by its style and performance as its aural pleasure and driving involvement. Audi even boldly claims the PB-18 would offer “emotion instead of emissions”. This looks like a pretty tall claim, even considering the kind of performance electric cars are capable of.
Conventional performance cars until now have had an involving driving experience mainly because of the engine’s varied soundtracks and mechanical systems that make themselves heard while in operation. With an electric car, there is, of course, no sound of controlled explosions happening in the engine chamber, which takes away a little from the involvement. The small number of moving parts and onboard safety systems that are too intrusive lead to a vehicle that is more appliance and less car.
It will be interesting to see how Audi makes this electric sports car as puristic as it claims. The Audi PB-18 e-Tron will be unveiled at Laguna Seca on August 23.