Audi e-tron Detroit Concept: All New Electric Sports Coupe, Smaller than the TT

Just a few months after the debut of the Audi e-tron at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi unveiled a second full-electric sports car concept at the Detroit show today. Bypassing the silly and confusing 'Detroit showcar Audi e-tron' name, the German firm's new concept model is said to provide a vision of how a small sports car positioned below R8 could look like.

Like the original e-tron, the new two-seater concept is built around Audi's ASF lightweight aluminium space frame and features a carbon fibre reinforced plastic hybrid body that helps keep weight down to 1,350kg or 2,976 lbs.

However, at 3.93 metres (154.7 inches) long, 1.78 meters (70 inches) wide and 1.22 meters (48 inches) tall, the new concept is much more compact in size than the Frankfurt Show e-tron (4.26 meters long, 1.9 meters wide and 1.23 meters tall). It's even shorter than the TT that measures 4.17 meters or 164.5 inches in length.

Whereas the original e-tron was fitted with four-electric motors, two at each axle, the Detroit showcar gets two motors that drive the rear wheels and can operate independently.

Audi says that the twin-motors deliver a combined output of 150 kW or 204 horsepower and peak torque of 2,650Nm or 1954.54 lb-ft accelerating the coupe from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in just 5.9 seconds. The e-tron accomplishes the sprint from 60 to 120 km/h (37- 74 mph) in 5.1 seconds.

The concept's top speed is limited to 124mph or 200km/h, as Audi claims that the amount of energy required by the electric motors increases disproportionately to speed.

The baby e-tron's lithium batteries that are mid-mounted and tip the scales at 399kg or 880 lbs, offer a driving range of around 155 miles or 250 km. They can be fully charged through a 230v household outlet in about 11 hours, but Audi says that a heavy current (400 volts, 32 amperes) can cut the time to just about two hours.