Audi Urban Concept (2011) the first sketches

Published: 10 August 2011

This… is a sketch. But it’s one of a series of sketches of Audi’s Urban Concept, a tiny little electric two-seat runabout that Ingolstadt will reveal at the upcoming 2011 Frankfurt motor show in September.

Is there room for two seats in the Audi Urban Concept? Or even room for the electric motor?

There are actually two electric ‘E-tron’ motors to provide the power, while a set of lithium-ion batteries should provide enough charge to buzz around big cities all day. There’s no word yet on whether they’re in-wheel motors but presumably there’s one powering each axle, and unless those side intakes are form winning out over function, the R8 supercar-alike gills will provide the necessary cooling.

Rather than anything as mundane as a set of doors, the Urban Concept has a sliding canopy that glides back to allow ingress and egress to the cabin. Seating is a staggered 1+1 arrangement, like on the Caparo T1, with the passenger sitting just off the driver’s right shoulder. They are two thinly padded seats, and only a skeletal cabin with a display screen mounted on the bar that forms the dashboard.

What else do we know?

Audi, with much pomp, claims the concept ‘confounds conventional car categories – the Audi Urban Concept combines elements of a racing car, a roadster, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept.’

More importantly, it shows that Audi is also exploring future urban mobility – BMW has the i3, both Mini and Smart have shown electric scooter concepts, and Renault will put the tandem-seat Twizy EV on sale in 2012.

The Urban Concept isn’t based on any existing car, but uses Audi’s new lightweight Ultra philosophy to trim all unnecessary kilos – that means a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) cockpit which integrates into the base of the seats. Those wheels will add a few pounds of unsprung mass though, as they’re huge 21in items; Audi says the shrouds over the open wheels feature ‘blinking’ strips of LED lights.  

The Audi Urban Concept will be revealed in full at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show in September.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy