Audi unveils tiny China-focused Urbansphere concept for megacity traffic

Audi unveils tiny China-focused Urbansphere concept for megacity traffic

Audi has unveiled the third in a series of concept cars dedicated to the future of mobility, this time with a focus on urban transport in China.

The Audi Urbansphere concept was built together with the country’s traffic-laden megacities, imagining a future where the vehicle can fill the void by providing personal space where it is lacking. This is the third concept of “sphere”. The company introduced its Skysphere and Grandsphere concepts last year.

In a press release, Audi Chairman Markus Duesmann said engineers and designers built a pickup truck to illustrate the needs of its Chinese customer base.

“To make e-mobility even more attractive, we are thinking about it holistically and starting from the needs of the customer”, says Duesmann. “More than ever, it is not just the product that is decisive, but the whole ecosystem. That is why Audi is creating a comprehensive ecosystem with services for the entire car. The Audi urbansphere concept also offers everyone on board a wide range of options to use this freedom to offer a highly personalized onboard experience: communication or relaxation, work or retirement in the private sphere of your choice.”

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On the outside, the Urbansphere takes the form of a futuristic minivan. A black grille with a hexagonal pattern takes up most of the front, while the lines along the sides tend upwards. The sloping tail of the roof adds to the car’s aerodynamic efficiency.

AutoPacific analyst Robby Degraff told Newsweek that grilles are becoming a canvas for automakers as electric vehicles become more popular, saying it’s likely that the Urbansphere’s “pixelated” grille design will probably see the production.

“By not needing as much open functional space for cooling as that required of a [internal combustion engine] vehicle, automakers truly have a blank canvas and opportunity to play around and tweak EV front ends, adding exclusive textures that even include clean creative integration of daytime running lights, turn signals, and more. “, did he declare.

Making a pickup truck for the Chinese market is also a smart move. While the segment is known for family-oriented vehicles in the US, it’s a different story in Asia.

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“Markets like China, Korea and Japan are buzzing with plush, dazzling, tech-filled minivans that often do their duty shuttling executives and other VIPs,” he explained. “That seems to be Audi’s intention here with this concept, sharing the task of designing the Urbansphere directly with its team in Beijing.”

A production version of the Urbansphere is expected to be released in the next few years for the Asian market.

The concept is powered by a 120 kilowatt-hour battery and two electric motors. This pair works out to produce around 295 horsepower and 508 pound-feet of torque.

The company estimates the car has a range of 466 miles. Using an 800-volt architecture, Audi claims the car can charge from 5% to 85% in less than 25 minutes.

Audi says its adaptive air suspension with semi-active damping control provides a smooth ride, whether on bumpy downtown streets or slick highways.

In each of the Sphere concepts, Audi has paid great attention to the interior. There is no B-pillar in the car, as the doors are counter-hinged. When the doors open, a red carpet is thrown onto the floor.

Swivel seats allow passengers to turn and face each other when talking. Conversely, a privacy screen on the headrest can isolate a passenger from the person sitting next to him.

Degraff notes that as automakers introduce concepts to turn cabins into living spaces or lounges, many of these ideas will be incorporated into production models of electric vehicles. This gives passengers comforting space during charging times.

“We’re still years away from charging times that take as little as five minutes like you would at a gas pump, so the cabin of an EV needs to be a space that allows you to recline your seat and deploy a center console to read a book or prop up a laptop and wait comfortably without ever leaving the vehicle,” he said.

The surfaces are covered with wood, wool and synthetic fabrics.

At the front, displays are projected in place of a traditional dashboard. The configuration of these screens changes depending on the riding mode. Drivers and passengers can control and adjust these displays with a combination of eye tracking, hand gestures and touch controls.

Certain surfaces in the front and rear can be illuminated in different colors, which can adapt to traffic situations, the environment or the mood of the passengers.

Audi says the minivan was designed around the idea of ​​future autonomous technology, which would eliminate the need for a steering wheel or pedals.

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