New Audi R8 e-tron: the 456bhp zero emissions supercar

All-electric Audi R8 e-tron is a zero-emissions supercar capable of 0-62mph in 3.9 seconds with a 276-mile range

Alongside the V10-powered Audi R8, Audi has also revealed full details on an all-electric, rear-wheel-drive version of the R8 at the Geneva Motor Show. Called the R8 e-tron, it uses two electric motors on the rear axle – producing a total of 456bhp and 920Nm.

The real breakthrough for this car is its range; Audi claims it can cover 276 miles between charges (compared to 134 miles for the previous car), and charging it can take as little as two hours using a rapid charging point.

The first R8 e-tron concept appeared in 2009, and was originally slated for a 2013 launch, but the project was canned by then Audi technical chief Wolfgang Durheimer. But current technical chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg revived the project and set a target of at least 400km (250 miles) before it could be sold to the public. Clearly, that target has now been reached.

Building on the tech seen in the first R8 e-tron show car, this second-generation model uses a T-shaped battery pack down the spine of the car and behind the seats to lower the centre of gravity. Power density is nearly double that of its forerunner, hence the impressive range, and Audi builds the lithium-ion battery itself. The 0-62mph sprint takes 3.9 seconds while the top speed is limited to 155mph.

Best electric cars to buy now

Although clearly a member of the R8 family, the e-tron is distinguished by its partially blanked-out grille, bonnet scoop and five LED claws below the headlights. A floating carbon side-blade is surrounded by a strip of lights, while the wheels feature carbon-fibre inserts to improve the aerodynamics. At the rear there’s a small boot lip spoiler, more claw-like inserts and a flush-fitting trim strip where the exhausts and diffuser would normally be.

Audi is calling the car primarily a rolling laboratory for "help in creating a vehicle with sedan character", suggesting a Tesla Model S rival is well on the way, but this isn't just a technology demonstrator. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but customers will be able to order one later this year. 

Get all the latest news from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show here...

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