Adventure isn’t the first word one usually associates with Audi. That could be about to change, though.
The German luxury marque has just unveiled a stunning new all-electric concept called the Activesphere. It’s both an SUV and a truck, and, were it to ever go into production, could single-handedly change the way that people view the automaker.
The sleek bruiser is the latest in the company’s series of “sphere” concepts, that try to imagine what the future of mobility will look like. In images provided by the automaker, the Activesphere looks like a hulking brute, but, as Car and Driver points out, it’s about as long as the Q8 at 16.3 feet. The concept is three inches wider and an inch shorter than the series-production crossover, though. It’s also more elegant, thanks to its new “singleframe” grille and coupé-style roof. The rear glass also slides forward to reveal a truck bed—or “active back”—that can be used to haul cargo such as bikes or golf clubs. It also has some flourishes you’d expect from an off-roader, including bulky protective cladding and big 22-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires.
Activesphere’s cabin—or “sphere”—is even more impressive. The red-and-black interior looks like the cockpit of a spaceship, only without any screens. They’re not hidden away, either. Instead, the vehicle comes equipped with four augmented reality (AR) headsets that the driver and passengers can use to view relevant information or entertainment options via the “Audi dimensions” interface. Like other “sphere” concepts, the Activesphere is designed to be autonomous, but when the driver wants to take over, a steering wheel protracts from its otherwise spartan dashboard.
The Activesphere is built on the same 800-volt Premium Platform Electric platform Audi has developed in conjunction with Porsche. The powertrain includes two motors—one on each axle—that combine to generate 436 hp and 531 ft lbs of torque, according to the automaker. This setup is powered by a 100-kWh battery pack that will allow it to travel more than 373 miles on a single charge. The battery also supports fast charging that will allow you to add 186 miles of range in just 10 minutes.
Sadly, the Activesphere is unlikely to go into production anytime soon. Audi has shown that it isn’t afraid to turn prototypes into production vehicles, but the “sphere” series is strictly an opportunity for the marque’s designers and engineers to dream big. Still, some of its features may end up on the company’s vehicles in the future—even the near future. We wouldn’t hold our breath waiting for the vehicle’s AR interface, or autonomous driving for that matter. Both of those features are likely years, if not decades, away.
Click here for more photos of the Audi Activesphere concept.