From Audi at CES Tech Leadership ElectricCar CatchUp CBS News

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AUDI A8 Electric Cars

From Audi at CES: Leadership, Electric-Car Catch-Up

Updated Jan 10, 2011 1:37 PM EST


The Electronics Show in Las Vegas, concluded yesterday, turned out to be an bonanza for electric-vehicle (EV) In addition to the debut of the Ford electric, there was also a Roadster (at Panasonic ‘s because Panasonic makes its and a brace of plug-in cars Audi . including two different of the e-tron. Both are technologically and both bristle with the of electronic innovation that their appearance at CES a logical .

Volkswagen and Audi are sleeper in the EV revolution. Both have electric car prototypes, with VW from Tesla’s technical Europe has been slow to get EVs (preferring diesels generally) but playing catch-up now with a of new model introductions, some for production.

The e-tron’s legacy

I was fascinated by the A1 which I hadn’t seen in the before. It’s a finished-looking on a compact European hatchback that really should it to the U.S. though there are no plans for that. Could be some hints of what the generation of the VW Beetle will like in the slightly egg-shaped A1?

betting yes.

But the A1 e-tron is than a battery version of a compact — it has only 31 of battery range (from a 12 liquid-cooled pack) and a three-hour time (the same as the new Focus), but that isn’t all she

The car also includes a very rotary engine (including and power electronics, it weighs 143 pounds) that offers than 150 miles of range. of the Volt and Fisker Karma, it at a constant 5,000 rpm and acts as a to supply the electric motor, than driving the wheels.

the hood, a Wankel rotary

The use of a rotary engine is a first in a hybrid, and it’s an interesting Audi claims that its car 123 mpg and — critical for the European if a production version ever — 45 grams of carbon per kilometer. Fuel economy is not a strong suit of the Wankel engine, which was developed by engineer Felix Wankel in the 1950s.

Mazda’s RX-8 has a rotary and there are reliability and smoothness but emission and fuel consumption have limited its use as a primary

Audi’s R8 e-tron, also at is more fanciful â€- but still It’s aimed at Tesla’s a two-seater with no less four electric motors on each axle). With 313 on tap, it can reach 124 mph and sprint zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds. The standard R8 is for production as a kind of super-TT, and the is a nice complement: It has a big 53 kilowatt-hour and a 155-mile range.

If 1,400 bought the Tesla Roadster, Audi could sell a number of R8 e-trons if the price be kept reasonable (a big if). I go with the A1 for production if I was in charge of

AUDI A8 Electric Cars

The wired Audi A8

To guide me the latest electronic equipment, I to Audi’s Werner Hamberger . who me a touchpad going into A8 (and others soon) as a way of combating driver distraction, can letters that drivers with their fingers on a pad. It turned out to be very in use (any squiggle that say, a T was recognized. Human would be to look down to sure the car was getting it, but Hamberger that in production models the letters are announced by navigation

This cuts the driver in half, he said.

Driver is an issue with a lot of in-car at CES. RE Auto . for instance, a Smart car with no less three video screens, two in the and one on the dashboard. Here’s what looked like on video:

An experimental version of that mimicked Braille with that could be easily via touch. The buttons appeared on the flat touchpad only their relevant function was

Audi has incorporated a WLAN into its Bluetooth car phone that can allow as many as devices inside the car to go online, laptops to tablets. As the user of a WLAN Fivespot, I can see how this be very useful, but all those iPads might undo the benefits of the smart touchpad. You can get 3D from Google Earth and on the A8’s Multi-Media Interface,

Audi wants to be known for its engineering, and for its tech approach, It’s nobody’s idea of an EV yet, but as I said, it’s catch-up.

© 2011 CBS Interactive All Rights Reserved.

AUDI A8 Electric Cars
AUDI A8 Electric Cars
AUDI A8 Electric Cars
AUDI A8 Electric Cars
AUDI A8 Electric Cars
AUDI A8 Electric Cars

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