Is an electric supercar storm headed to Pebble Beach?
Audi andMercedes are gearing up to stun the world’s automotive cognoscenti at Pebble Beach later in August by unveiling electric sportscar concepts as hero models to lead their electric car charge.
It takes a lot to stun a Pebble Beach crowd but both cars appear to have what it takes. Audi’s PB18 e-tron is said to be “a puristic sportscar of the future” with cues from both its Le Mans-winning R18 racecar and the R8 supercar, as hinted at by the head-on teaser image.
Mercedes meanwhile is also looking to past racing glory by seeking design inspiration for its new sporting concept from the single-seat streamliners of a bygone era. All we know about that so far is what has been teased by a rather surreal sculpture that recalls the iconic 1930s W125 record-breaker and the T80 land speed car (that came to the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard last month).
So in prospect it seems we are being tempted here by an all-electric Audi R8 and a battery-powered Silver Arrow for the road. Can’t be bad. Speed, sensuous design and racing heritage are all things judged important to create an emotional link between drivers and the coming new generation of electric cars.
Both Audi, with the production e-tron SUV, and Mercedes, with the EQ C-class SUV, are set to go big with battery power in the coming months in an effort to reel in Jaguar with its already-on-sale I-Pace.
The PB18 e-tron and Mercedes EQ APL (or Aesthetics Progressive Luxury, to give it its full title) are the sexy lure to get us to take the showroom electric car bait, much in the way Volkswagen has put a halo around its coming electric crop (brand name: ID) with the record-setting ID R Pikes Peak hillclimb weapon.
So do not expect to buy them in the form to be shown in California on August 23rd-25th , when both concepts will be doing the rounds during Monterey Car Week, from Laguna Seca to The Quail via Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
But while the Mercedes promises to be more an exercise in a new design language, the Audi appears to be far more road-ready – right down to the rear-view cameras instead of mirrors that, in a notable first, will be offered as an option on the production e-tron SUV when it goes on sale later this year.