With fewer than 100 examples sold, the R8 E-Tron launched back in 2015 was far from a commercial success. However, Audi never really gave up on the idea of an electric supercar. In 2018, it presented its vision of a high-performance EV with the PB18 E-Tron pictured here. A production version sadly didn't follow, but the Four Rings are once again willing to talk about a zero-emission R8 with a potential launch date later this decade.
In an interview with Autocar, the man in charge of the Technical Development division strongly suggested there will be a third-generation R8 someday. Oliver Hoffmann told the British magazine that the Volkswagen Group's upcoming Scalable Systems Platform can be adapted and reconfigured for "iconic cars – sports cars and so on."
Audi PB 18 e-tron
He went on to mention Audi will use certain systems or modules engineered for SSP for high-performance electric vehicles. Hoffmann didn't go into details about when we'll see an R8 and/or a TT with electric propulsion but he suggested work has already begun. As a refresher, Audi will launch its last new model powered by a combustion engine in 2025, with everything coming from 2026 to be an EV.
Meanwhile, there are bigger fish to fry than sports cars as the first priority is represented by the Q6 E-Tron due in 2024. It'll sit on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture co-developed with Porsche, which will use it for the next-generation, EV-only Macan. The aforementioned SSP will fuse hardware developed for MEB and PPE platforms and eventually underpin approximately 80 percent of the VW Group's EVs.
Hoffmann mentioned Audi's first EVs riding on SSP are scheduled to come out early in the platform's life cycle. Porsche is working on a variation of this architecture – dubbed SSP Sport – for a new flagship electric SUV coming in the second half of the decade to slot above the Cayenne. Codenamed K1, this new model will represent a "new vehicle concept" with "impressive performance" and a "new interior experience,” according to Porsche CEO Oliver Blume.
Speaking of Porsche, its Mission X concept portrays a potential future electric supercar. However, it's too premature to know whether an R8 EV would be related to it, although that make sense to spread out costs.