It’s been nearly three years since Audi unveiled its PB18 e-tron concept. In 2018, the daring vision of high-dollar 2020s recreational driving, EV-style, made for a strong statement about the automaker’s commitment to the electric powertrain. The company’s newest electric-only concept car is a reflection of that angular sports of three years ago, and carries on from the e-tron division’s first imaginative figurehead.
Audi calls the new concept the SkySphere. Like the PB18, Audi scheduled the reveal for Monterey Car Week; apropos, as the SkySphere — along with two other concepts sharing the ‘Sphere’ suffix, the GrandSphere and UrbanSphere, which will be unveiled over the next year — was dreamed up down south a piece at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu.
The SkySphere is a roadster with both manual and autonomous driving capabilities. In manual mode, driving is enhanced by rear wheel drive and an adjustable wheelbase. The autonomous ‘Grand Touring’ mode opens up the car’s potential as a vehicle for new horizons; the steering wheel and pedals retract, and the longer wheelbase gives the vehicle more lounging room.
The SkySphere’s 465 kW powertrain can travel over 300 miles on a full charge. Of its performance traits, the most interesting may be its particularly acute form of active suspension, which compensates at each wheel while in operation.
There’s a lot to think about with the SkySphere, and its appearance fulfills the promised potential of Audi’s considerable investment in electric-only vehicles. The next concept in the ‘Sphere triad should appear soon enough, hopefully in the last quarter of this year.