German car giant Audi has unveiled its latest concept car, the all-electric e-tron Vision Gran Turismo, in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint.
This becomes the latest attempt from a large company to do something about the environment, after Waitrose announced it would withdraw all disposable cups used for its free tea and coffee.
Audi’s creation was originally made for the highly popular Gran Turismo gaming series, but the real car will be used at all European rounds of the Formula E motorsport championship. The futuristic-styled car will be used as a shuttle for guests and will also give hot laps of the race track.
The car utilises technology from Audi’s road vehicles as well as elements from their racing programmes, and is set to appear at Formula E events throughout this year.
In a bid to raise its profile, Triple Le Mans winner Rinaldo Capello will drive the car at the Rome round of the championship this weekend.
James Batchelor, an editor at Auto Express, said: “The e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is a very exciting concept. On the one hand it blurs virtual reality with real life, bringing to life a car that was originally destined for video gaming.
“But on the other hand – and the really exciting story – is that it’s an example Audi is seriously getting behind electric cars. It’s a taste of the forthcoming fully-electric Audi coupe coming in 2020.”
The world famous Gran Turismo video game, produced by Sony, collaborates with car manufacturers to create new concept designs. The e-tron is just one of many, following projects with McLaren, Hyundai and Peugeot.
With Audi increasing its efforts in the electric car field, more enterprises are being seen to do more to help the environment.
The news comes just days after the Scottish government’s electric car scheme came under fire for being a catastrophic flop, according to the Conservative Party.
Tom Brooks, a presenter at the Grand Turismo and Audi event, said: “The unveiling signals the Audi’s commitment to the environment. Having a working machine in real life demonstrates how Audi believes in the future of EV and is keen to help it progress forwards.
“It is highly beneficial as it is widely believed that the automotive industry’s future is all-electric. Cars do damage the environment, so it’s important that companies come up with new ideas to try and combat that.”
The electric car industry has had no easy rise to success, with many issues still ongoing.
“The market for a high-performance, practical electric car was most successfully identified by Tesla with the Model S, which has been selling well for a pure electric vehicle, and has a range that many drivers would feel comfortable with,” said Simon Harris, motoring journalist.
With Audi now developing electric models, a question of necessity has to be raised. Are manufacturers developing these cars because they want to, or because they have to?
The European Union has set average CO2 emission targets that manufacturers must comply with or face heavy penalties.
“The next new threshold of 95g/km will be introduced in 2021, so we can expect more plug-in hybrid and electric cars over the next few years, as they seek to balance the higher emissions of cars they sell,” Simon said.
“With the e-tron, Audi has a number of advantages over a company like Tesla. In being part of Volkswagen Group, and with sister brands using the same technology (Porsche will also launch an electric car soon), it is able to use volume to keep costs lower.
“Audi knows how to mass-produce cars, and is a benchmark for quality when it comes to fit and finish. The Audi e-tron will arrive on the market around the same time as the Jaguar I-Pace, another pure electric SUV, which is probably its closest rival, and no doubt there will be more premium-badge rivals in the near future.”
There is no doubt that electric technology had advanced considerably during the current decade. There’s current development in producing new, more efficient batteries and, undoubtedly, there will be further progress to come.