The highly anticipated and highly ambitious Audi R8 e-tron has just been laid to rest by the brass in Ingolstadt. The reasoning behind this decision to end the R8 e-tron project is yet to be known. The R8 e-tron was somewhat of an enigma to begin with, but now it’s just memory.
The current Audi R8 e-tron made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show last year and it excited a fan base. People who were in the market for a sustainable electric supercar went bananas for the R8 e-tron. With its stunning looks, incredible performance and high-tech electric powertrain, it seemed unbeatable. However, Audi never put out any sales information and built the R8 e-tron in near secrecy. In fact, if you wanted to buy one, your dealer would refer you to Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt.
Not that many people bought it, though. According to an unnamed Audi representative, the four-ringed brand sold “Fewer than 100”. That’s not good enough to make any sort of financial sense for the R8 e-tron, which is likely why Audi canned the project. It was simply too early in the development of electric powertrains to successfully manufacture and sell such a car.
Especially considering its price. With a sticker price of €1 million ($1.1 million), the Audi R8 e-tron was out of reach for anyone other than the one percent of wealthy car buyers. And at that point, there were cars like the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1, so not many rich people were going to go for the Audi R8 e-tron. All of those aforementioned other cars were bespoke hypercars with nearing 1,000 hp and sub three-second 0-60 times. The Audi R8 e-tron? A developmental powertrain project built on an existence sub-$200,000 car. And while that’s still a great idea for a car, it’s not worth $1.1 million.
So we understand why Audi canned the R8 e-tron project. It simply wasn’t selling, didn’t have the customer desirability and wasn’t worth the investment. It was likely too ambitious of a project for its time. Audi will likely come back to the idea in the future, or something similar to it.