Published on August 11th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Audi skysphere Concept Can Change Its Wheelbase On The Fly!
Could the Audi skysphere concept break up the monotony of Ingolstadt’s offerings?
It’s no secret that the brand with the four rings has found itself in a bit of a design slump for nearly a decade. It’s not that their cars look bad, it’s just that they haven’t really tried anything new in a while. Following the era of the first TT and the first R8, Audi just failed to make any big design breakthroughs. Even the Audi prologue concept didn’t seem to revolutionise things for the company’s design language.
But perhaps today things change. They’ve introduced a new design concept called the “skysphere”. The Audi skysphere concept is an electric 2-door convertible that can drive itself if necessary. But its real party trick is its variable wheelbase!
Audi has designed a chassis that allows the body and frame components to vary the wheelbase and length of the car by 25cm. It can also increase ground clearance by about 1cm.
Why Does The Audi skysphere have a varible wheelbase?
Audi wanted to create one car that could offer two distinct driving experiences. When the driver wants to take control and have fun behind the wheel, they’d put the skysphere into “Sports” mode. This reduces the car to 4.94 metres in length, reduces the overall wheelbase, and puts the car in their control. See it in action here.
If they want a relaxing, comfortable autonomous cruise, they’d hit the “Grand Touring” drive mode and the car would extend to 5.19 metres and do all the driving for them.
Audi skysphere Technical Details
There’s only one electric motor on the skysphere and it drives the rear axle with 465 kW and 750Nm of torque. That’s plenty, even though the skysphere weighs a whopping 1800kg. 0-100km/h is done in just 4 seconds. Most of the car’s battery modules are also positioned towards the rear to give it a rear-biased weight distribution. There are also battery modules between the seats in the centre console a-la Volvo. With more than 80kWh of battery capacity, the Audi skysphere concept is expected to have a range of more than 500km.
The Audi skysphere is designed with double-wishbone axles in front and at the rear. These are made of aluminium. There’s a steer-by-wire system that moves both the front and rear wheels with driver-adjustable sensitivity. Audi’s latest air suspension has been employed here with 3 independent air chambers that can be deactivated for a sportier ride or filled for more comfort.
More Upcoming Audi Concepts
The Audi skysphere concept was designed at the Audi Design Studio in Malibu and debuted in California as well, at this year’s Monterey Car Week.
Audi is also expected to show the grandsphere and urbansphere in 2022. These will show Audi’s vision of a reimagined interior for electric vehicles.