Just like the Model S and the Model 3, Tesla’s next-generation Roadster has the potential to disrupt an industry. In the case of the Roadster, this would be the supercar market — a segment dominated mainly by premium, high-performance vehicles from Europe. With its specs and its price, the Roadster would likely start making waves among supercar enthusiasts once it enters production sometime in 2020.
If recent reports from Germany are any indication, though, a legitimate rival to Tesla’s “hardcore smackdown” to gasoline cars would be waiting for it when it starts rolling off the production floor. In an announcement earlier this month, German automaker Audi noted that it would be bringing its next-generation PB18 e-tron all-electric supercar to low-volume production. With just around 50 units of the vehicle expected to be built, the PB18 e-tron would likely arrive at the market just in time, or even ahead, of the next-gen Tesla Roadster.
Audi’s PB18 e-tron supercar was unveiled last summer, with the German carmaker hyping the vehicle as a car equipped with the best technologies available today, such as an 800-volt charging system and solid-state batteries that can be fully charged in 15 minutes. At the recently-held Mission Zero Event in Amsterdam, Audi boss Bram Schot announced that the supercar, which was initially speculated to be a one-off prototype, would actually be entering low-volume production.
In a press release for the PB18 e-tron, Audi noted that the supercar would be equipped with three electric motors that deliver a power output of 150 kW to the front axle and 350 kW to the rear. Maximum output for the vehicle is 500 kW, though drivers can boost this to 570 kW during operation. Thanks to the electric motors’ combined torque of up to 830-newton meters (612.2 lb-ft), the German-bred electric supercar can accelerate from 0-60 mph in “scarcely more than 2 seconds.”
While certainly impressive, though, Audi’s upcoming all-electric supercar does fall short when compared to some of the next-generation Tesla Roadster’s specs. The Audi PB18 e-tron, for one, comes with a 95 kWh battery pack, which the company states will give the vehicle 500 km (310 miles) of range per charge. The next-generation Tesla Roadster, on the other hand, is equipped with a 200 kWh battery pack that gives the vehicle a range of 1000 km (620 miles) per charge. That said, Audi’s upcoming all-electric supercar is also capable of 350 kW charging, which should make up for the vehicle’s otherwise average range.
Performance figures aside, the Audi PB18 e-tron would likely be priced higher than the Tesla Roadster. With a limited production of just 50 vehicles, Audi could charge top dollar for its all-electric supercar. Thus, it would not be surprising if the PB18 e-tron ends up commanding a price closer to the Rimac C_Two (also a low-volume all-electric supercar priced at $2.1 million) than its Silicon Valley-bred rival. In this sense, the next-generation Tesla Roadster would still be far more attainable than the PB18 e-tron, considering the vehicle’s starting price of $200,000 for the base variant.
Elon Musk notes that the next-generation Tesla Roadster is a supercar designed to take away the halo effect that gas cars have in the performance segment. In classic Elon Musk form, though, the Tesla CEO has announced some pretty crazy ideas for the upcoming vehicle, including a “SpaceX package” that would allow the Roadster to have “hovering” abilities. The base version of the next-gen Tesla Roadster already boasts a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds and a top speed above 250 mph. With the SpaceX package, the vehicle’s specs would likely look, quite literally, out of this world.
Watch Audi’s teaser for the PB18 e-tron supercar in the video below.