Because the world careens towards the ultimate reckoning — introduced on partly by the human crucial to drive the most important, baddest, most brutal vehicles possible — everybody and their cousin desires a Mad Max sort car to haul them up mountains and throughout raging rivers to flee the carnage taking place of their wake. Audi has regarded round its company storage and determined it doesn’t have any rugged electrical autos just like the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes G Class it will probably supply to loyal prospects who wish to trip an electrical automotive into then apocalypse.
Ecce Audi Uberwagen!
Autocar has the unique on the as but unnamed rugged off-roader. It spoke not too long ago to Audi designer Marc Lichte who hinted that such a battery-electric car is beneath growth with a goal launch date of 2027 and that it’s a part of a strategic push into new segments facilitated by new partnerships and platforms. Licte mentioned the brand new überwagen is not going to be based mostly on the PPE structure Audi has developed together with Porsche to be used throughout its core EV lineup. Nor will it use the Ford Ranger-derived underpinnings that are scheduled to offer the idea for an electrical Volkswagen 4×4 SUV within the coming years.
As a substitute, Lichte mentioned the brand new automotive will trip on a platform taken from elsewhere within the VW Group portfolio. As a result of the upcoming SSP platform has been delayed till at the very least 2028, it’s extremely seemingly that Audi will look to the nascent Scout model to offer the chassis. Now right here’s the place it will get fascinating. Again on the daybreak of the SUV period, all these autos have been constructed on a truck chassis with a ladder body. The unique Ford Explorer was a Ranger with an enclosed physique. The Expedition was based mostly on the F-150.
At first, prospects complained their SUVs rode too harshly. Goodyear and Firestone went to nice lengths to construct tires that would deal with the load of these autos however give a softer trip. Finally, the business transitioned from truck-based frames to unibody autos that had the scale of an SUV, however provided the tender tushies of SUV patrons the refined trip they have been used to of their Buicks and Cadillacs.
Now we have now come full circle again to ladder frames once more. They might not trip like a pillow, however they positive are rugged and that’s precisely what the brand new Scout pickup truck and SUV are providing — autos that mimic the bone-crushing trip of the unique Scout from Worldwide Harvester. Rugged you need, rugged you’re gonna get.
In line with Autocar, the preliminary plans referred to as for Audi to construct its Scout-based fashions in the identical new US manufacturing facility the place the Scout was manufactured, however these plans have been cancelled, Autocar says there’s the potential that Audi might borrow the chassis from Scout and construct its personal vehicles near residence in Ingolstadt.
Audi is already collaborating with Magna on growth of batteries and electronics for Scout EVs, and the VW Group board is claimed to be leaning in the direction of giving Magna the contract to construct the Scout vehicles with room on the manufacturing line for an Audi-badged product. The suggestion is that Magna might construct 50,000 Audi 4x4s per 12 months — a major quantity that may point out plans for launch in varied world markets exterior the US — alongside 100,000 Scout vehicles. Curiously sufficient, Magna additionally builds the Mercedes G Class in Austria.
“I feel there’s area” for a rugged SUV in Audi’s passenger automotive lineup, Lichte mentioned. “There may be potential as a result of there are solely two premium gamers” on this specific section — Mercedes and Land Rover — “and I feel there’s a area for a 3rd one.”
The Audi activesphere Debuts
You need bizarre? Audi’s acquired all of the bizarre anybody might ask for with its activesphere idea. Right here’s how Audi describes it in a press launch.
“The Audi activesphere idea marks the fruits of sphere idea autos. Following on from the Audi skysphere roadster in 2021, and the grandsphere saloon and urbansphere idea in April 2022, a four-door crossover coupé with an astonishingly versatile physique design is now making its debut.
“Standing 4.98 meters lengthy, the extremely elegant automotive is greater than a mere luxurious class sports activities automotive with spectacular floor clearance and huge 22 inch wheels asserting its off highway expertise. The Sportback rear of the activesphere can flip into an open cargo mattress on the contact of a button — excellent for carrying leisure gear comparable to e-bikes or water and winter sports activities gear.”
“By combining opposites in excellent synthesis, the Audi activesphere proves to be a flexible crosser of boundaries, with a drive system and suspension which make it equally adept each on and off the highway. The steering wheel and pedals enable the motive force to actively management the automotive, whereas additionally providing autonomous driving for a extra relaxed time on the highway. As a coupé that’s as elegant as it’s dynamic, it options traditional proportions and features, however in just some seconds, the automotive transforms right into a pickup for transporting high class sports activities gear.
“The idea automotive was conceived and designed on the Audi Design Studio in Malibu, only a stone’s throw away from the Pacific Coast Freeway. Studio supervisor Gael Buzyn and his workforce are the inventive minds behind the challenge.”
“With electrical drive and fast charging know-how from Audi’s PPE modular system, the Audi activesphere joins the sphere household of idea autos. With no native emissions, a variety of over 372 miles, and intensely quick charging occasions because of 800-volt know-how, it combines the sustainability, dynamics and lengthy distance functionality of cutting-edge electrical autos. The autonomous chauffeuring functionality on appropriate terrain offers drivers and passengers a brand new degree of freedom, which, because of the brand new show and working know-how, can be utilized within the activesphere in quite a lot of methods.”
Nicely, if that doesn’t get your pulse charge up, nothing will. The svelte traces of a sports activities automotive however with a again seat and an open mattress like a pickup truck. It’s a mixture of each car style for individuals who need all of it. Whether or not it’s a hodgepodge or a superb concept that the world has been ready for is as much as every particular person to resolve.
Between the Scout based mostly luxurious offroader and the multi-talented activesphere (what does Audi have in opposition to capital letters?), the workforce from Ingolstadt are burning the midnight oil attempting to cowl all of the bases after which some. However is there a marketplace for these vehicles? That’s a query with out a solution — at the very least for now.
Do not wish to miss a cleantech story? Join every day information updates from CleanTechnica on e mail. Or observe us on Google Information!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, wish to promote, or wish to counsel a visitor for our CleanTech Discuss podcast? Contact us right here.