First Video of Electric Audi R8 Shows All-Digital Instrumentation

By · September 21, 2012

Electric Audi R8

Electric Audi R8

The electric version of the Audi R8 supercar will be a star of the Paris motor show next week. I've already written about the car's performance which is phenomenal since it's the fastest road EV on the famous Nurburgring racetrack. All the specifications will be unveiled next Thursday, but today's news is a video which shows the interior for the first time. The instrumentation is all-digital. There are two screens. One in the usual place, and another one the central console. This is totally different from the gas R8, and quite unexpected.

Electric Audi R8 instrumentation

Electric Audi R8 instrumentation

Am I an old guy? I prefer the standard analog gauges. I have yet to understand why, but it seems most car designers believe EV buyers are nerds who can't take their eyes off their smartphones if it's not to direct them to another screen. I guess it's a trend that started in California, and is seen in the Tesla Model S.

The electric R8 doesn't have a tachometer but a powermeter, like in a Rolls Royce, graduated 0 to 100. There's no need for an engine temp gauge on an EV and there could be a battery temp gauge to replace it but there isn't any. With speed and battery's state-of-charge (SOC), that doesn't make much information to display, and this may explain the choice of the digital instrumentation. But what about torque distribution between each axle—the car has all-wheel drive—or torque value at the wheels? EVs have never had much instrumentation, which is okay on a Nissan LEAF, but you can expect more on a high-end sports car like this one.

Electric Audi R8, center console

Electric Audi R8, center console

There's a second screen on the center console, and this one is a touch screen. It's possible to adjust radio volume or ventilation with one finger. We'll have to see if it's as convenient, and as precise to use as a simple rotary knob. Ultimately, I believe manufacturers will save money with this. Computer screens may already be cheaper than quality switchgear. A third screen is on top of the windshield, where the rear view mirror used to be. It has been replaced by a camera. Audi says it gives wider visibility than a mirror, and that is probably true, but it ends up making this car the only one in the world where the driver must look at three screens to drive. I wonder if it has head-up display on top of all that.

Audi R8interior,  gasoline V10 model

Audi R8interior, gasoline V10 model

Another neat feature is the electric drawer to present the charging cable, and a little power door to hide the plug. They could have done a simple pop-up door with a spring, but it's much more impressive when it's power-operated. Check out the video below). But disregarding the powertrain, the real question is whether all those computer screens and power accessories will make the electric R8 as satisfying to use as the standard gas model. I don't have an answer yet.


· Bill Howland, (not verified) · 5 years ago

Very interesting:
I notice it has that 3phase charging plug that couldn't be used here, therefore a diffierent charging arrangement would most likely be needed for North American adoption, unless it forced all of us Americans to purchase a phaseconverter and transformer.

I'm with you Laurent I believe touch screens are overused. And I'd like to see a cost breakdown as to whether they are really cheaper since almost all dashboards are mass produced as an entire unit.

I'm in the minority here but the really dumbest implementation of these things is in my 2011 Chevy Volt. Doing the simplest thing, such as turning on/off the heat, ac, radio, or playing music is at least a 6 step process, where as in my old car I could just turn it on or off, or play music in one step.

My Navigation system just plain does not work with my voice. Had it back to the dealer a few times.

And then the thing repeatedly freezes up due to software bugs/incompetent designs.

Then they have all those dopey screens which give you NO imformation.

I suppose they have idiotlight messages come on the screen if something is wrong, but they could have motor 1 and 2 currents, voltage, frequency, amperage, engine speed, Water temperature in all 3 loops, heater amperage, state of charge (they do kinda have a picture), charging voltage & current, inside air temperature, dc/dc converter input and output amperages, both battery voltages and currents, oil pressure, temperature. My point is there is no lack of info that could be displayed.

There was GREAT criticism on another blog that with the 2013 Volts there is a 4 step process to set the charging current to 110 volts/12 amps rather than the now default 8. Actually, this is probably one of the easier things to do with that touchscreen.

· · 5 years ago

Car on the video is a German model. I guess those going to America will get a different plug, but I have no info about it.

Thanks for letting me know that I'm not alone in criticizing touchscreens. I had a Volt for a week. I found it to be a great car, and I liked its touchscreen for its ability to program charging, but I wish its AC and radio controls were taken off the system. Conventional controls are just better.

I don't have a cost breakdown, but both Peugeot and Renault have now standardized touchscreens on their leading small cars (208 and Clio), so it has be very cheap. I've seen a touchscreen on a washer too, another useless gimmick, but my main point should be esthetics. I think the gas R8 looks better (and more luxurious) with all its gauges.

· Bill Howland, (not verified) · 5 years ago


Well Said.

Re: Charging, since the current trend seems to have a totally separate charger at least for the american market due to the 1-phase requirement here, I'm not sure BMW, AUDI, VW, Mercedes, et al will decide its worth it on a low volume product to issue a change. It would be interesting if anyone who knows the technicals about the german version if the charger function from the 3 phase plug has been integrated into the Regeneration Rectifier system of the basic car.

In the USA every car I've seen has a totally separate (some would say redundant) single phase charger, totally independent of the Drive Modules, including the new Tesla model S (available standard with one 9.6 kw charger, or optionally for an additional US$1500 plus tax an additional one).

· Aaron (not verified) · 5 years ago

The center touch-screen is obviously a 3G-equipped iPad. If car manufacturers can get their cars to work with off-the-shelf equipment (like the iPad), maybe they can save money and headaches engineering things like the ill-reviewed Ford Sync system.

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