The Audi PB18 was unveiled yesterday at the annual poshfest at Pebble Beach. Ingolstadts’s commitment to electric cars continues with a very pretty – and working – electric supercar concept. Despite almost nobody buying the R8 e-tron, Audi persists. And thank goodness for that.
Much like the Infiniti Prototype 10, the PB18 is a monoposto single-seater, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. For a start the PB18 has a roof.
Looking at it, you can clearly see the design elements pinched from the limited edition Aicon as well as the R8 V10 supercar. But this is a supercar built around its electric drivetrain.
The PB18 its more shooting brake than mid-engine sportscar. With all the electric gear down low, the car’s design is much more race-car oriented.
It has a real boot but things go a bit weird in the cabin itself. With just a single seat, the whole setup is mounted on a sliding system. Saves money on right-hand drive/left-hand drive conversion but I like taking people with me in fast cars.
The new-look dash is something to behold, though, a fully digital setup and some cool detailing. Very concept car.
Audi PB18 Drivetrain
Three electric motors push the PB18 down the road, with two at the rear and one at the front. The forward motor drives each front wheel via half-shafts and has 150kW (204PS). Together, the rears spin up 350kW (476PS) with a combined 500kW (680PS) on offer. Hit the boost button and, in F1 parlance, you’ll deploy another 70kW (96PS) for a total of 570kW (775PS).
That’s a lot.
And there’s more – maximum torque is an impressive 830Nm. Audi says that the PB18 will zip from 0-100km (0-62mph) in “scarcely more than two seconds.”
All of this entirely believable, by the way, although I am left wondering about the tyres’ longevity.
Power comes from a liquid-cooled, 95kWh solid-state battery. Audi claims a full charge delivers 502km (310 miles) on the WLTP cycle, which is a good indicator. If you can find an 800-volt power source, you have full charge in just 15 minutes.
For charging at home, the Audi PB18 e-tron can be charged wirelessly with Audi’s induction pad (real-world existence TBC).
Audi PB18 Chassis and Aero
The PB18 sports independent suspension all-round, with upper and lower transverse control arms. The front axle features pushrods while the rear has pull-rods, both familiar to race car fans. Audi says its off the R18 e-tron Le Mans car.
The huge 22-inch wheels are wrapped in 275/35s up front ad 315/30s at the back. The 19-inch carbon discs
Massive wheels measure 22 inches in diameter and are fitted with 275/35 tyres in the front and 315/30 in the back. Large carbon brake discs with a 19-inch (482mm!) diameter should serve you extremely well. Especially when you consider the extra engine braking from the recovery system.
The chassis itself is made of a mix of aluminium, carbon and “multi-material composites”, meaning the weight is “less than 1550kg.” Audi credits the lightweight solid-state battery for much of the weight-saving.
PB18’s aggressive aero certainly looks the part. The gaping hexagonal grille funnels air up over the windscreen, so there’s no front boot. For that full-on race-car feel, the suspension is exposed. The huge rear wing helps glue the rear down and you can bet your bottom dollar it has a flat…er…bottom.
What’s its point, though?
Well, it’s a concept, pure and simple. While it runs and there are bits of that are production-ready – like the electric motors – at best, this will be a limited run sportscar. The Aicon from last year will have a limited production run, so stranger things have happened.
The whacky sliding driving position is a good clue that this isn’t really a production car. With just one seat that slides from side to side to let you out, it’s not really something that normal customers would want.
Then again, for the kind of money Audi could charge for the PB18, normal customers aren’t really in the mix.
Think it’s dumb? Matt probably agree – read his concept car Hot Take
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Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.