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by Jay Traugott
Rising battery costs, the lack of power longevity as well a customer base losing interest may spell the end of the R8 e-tron before it ever makes production.
It was back at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show where Audi's R8 e-tron supercar concept made its original debut. Since then, the automaker has continued development work of the all-electrical supercar, but we still have yet to see a production version after three years. So what gives? According to a new report coming from Car and Driver magazine, all advanced work and testing on the R8 e-tron program has been halted, largely due to the rising cost of batteries.
Yep, you read that right: batteries for EVs are not cheap, and combined with a couple of R8 e-tron prototypes ran out of power at both Le Mans and the Nurburgring during testing, Audi is apparently having seconds thoughts about the project altogether. Basically, EV battery technology that's powerful enough to withstand high performance without losing juice too quickly has not developed as fast as Audi was hoping. Along with all of the additional weight the batteries carry, combined with a potentially dwindling market interest, has made Audi think twice about the whole thing.
Arch-rival Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, saw development of its SLS AMG Electric Drive through to production. Nothing has been made official just yet but Audi isn't an automaker known to waste time and money on technology that simply doesn't work properly. The conventional V8 and V10 versions of the next-generation R8 are due to arrive sometime in 2015.