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 It has been replaced by a camera.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.

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