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Audi funnels its racing heritage into an electric supercar concept

By Ronan Glon

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Audi PB 18 e-tron teaser

Sometimes, the basic information you need to know about a car is right in its name. Audi has announced the imminent unveiling of a concept named PB 18 e-tron. We know it will make its public debut in late August during the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and it’s powered by an electric drivetrain.

That’s a good start, but everything else — including the car’s design — remains under wraps. Audi released a dark teaser image that depicts the silhouette of a wide, low-slung car with LED headlights. It was designed by Audi’s Design Loft in Malibu, California. It looks like an ultra-quick supercar with pronounced fenders and a sizable windshield, and Audi points out that it receives some of the technology features inaugurated on the race track by the Le Mans-winning R18 e-tron.

We also see some features borrowed from the upcoming e-tron quattro, an electric SUV Audi will introduce in September and release globally in the coming months. The PB 18 e-tron uses the same rearview cameras as the e-tron quattro. They’re much thinner than conventional door mirrors so they reduce the car’s drag coefficient and boost range. The e-tron will offer cameras as an option when it goes on sale, though the technology hasn’t been approved in the United States yet.

Audi will reveal the PB 18 e-tron on August 23 on the Laguna Seca racetrack in central California. The concept will then participate in the annual Concours d’Elegance, where it will be displayed on the concept lawn alongside historic race cars and production models from Audi’s collection.

It’s too early to tell what the future holds for the PB 18 e-etron. Audi’s electric car offensive will start with the e-tron quattro and continue in 2019 with the reveal of a second, sportier model with a design inspired by the Elaine concept. The floodgates will open after that.

“Shortly after [the Elaine], we’re going to have battery-electric vehicles one after the other, cranking out a lot of vehicles,” Peter Mertens, the head of Audi’s research and development department, told Digital Trends last year. We’ll have to wait until Audi fully unveils the PB 18 e-tron to find out if its product plan includes a gasoline-free supercar.

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