Audi Announces New Grandsphere Concept Car
Last month, Audi debuted the first of three exciting concept cars at Pebble Beach. Called Skysphere, that car was a rolling gallery of future tech and electric vehicle (EV) powertrain features. Now, the automaker has released the second concept in the series. Dubbed Grandsphere, Audi says the car is special because many of its features and technologies will appear in future vehicles. The Grandsphere concept, like Skysphere before it, features Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities. It’s also got some interesting interior and battery charging technologies.
Screens, displays, and digital functions in the Grandsphere are all hidden while the vehicle is off; Audi claims this to be “digital detox at its finest.” That all changes when the car springs to life. As it turns out, there are displays—or at least projections of displays—on the wooden surfaces under the windshield. Depending on whether the car is in Level 4 autonomous driving mode or human-control mode, the projections shift from covering the whole dash to being split between the driver and passenger. If the Grandsphere is set to autonomous mode, the projection surfaces can be used for entertainment features or as displays for video conferences.
The concept’s wheelbase measures 10.5 feet, which extends past the current A8 flagship sedan. Overall, the car is 17.6 feet long, 6.6 feet wide, and 4.6 feet high. Audi says the new Grandsphere doesn’t look anything like a traditional sedan, taking its shape from GT cars with a design inspired by aerodynamic work in the wind tunnel.
The Grandsphere concept utilizes Audi’s Premium Platform Electric, or PPE, a layout developed solely for EVs. Here, it houses a 120-kWh battery that occupies the space between the car’s axles. Two electric motors, one mounted on the front axle and one on the rear, generate 530 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque and send the power to all four wheels.
Range anxiety is becoming less of a thing with EVs that deliver hundreds of miles on a charge, and the Grandsphere concept is no exception. That said, the real story with charging here is the car’s ability to charge rapidly. It has 466 miles of range per charge, which is strong, but it can recover 186 miles of that range in just 10 minutes, Audi says. In under 25 minutes, the 120-kWh battery can charge from 5 to 80 percent. Audi says its strategy with the concept’s charging times was to make the experience as close to refueling a conventional gas-engine car as possible.
Audi is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on September 2, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.