Audi has just unveiled the urbansphere concept, its third concept car, illustrating its vision of future mobility. A concept car that this time is primarily adapted to the traffic in Chinese megacities. In these metropolises, where personal space is scarce, the urbansphere concept offers the largest interior space of any Audi. Designed in collaboration with customers, the high-tech interior sets a new benchmark for the passenger experience on board the vehicle. A vehicle where digital technologies and services appeal to all the senses and thus offer a new quality of experience. The Urbansphere concept also takes advantage of the many benefits of the PPE platform, designed specifically for premium electric cars. This is to offer maximum comfort and outstanding performance in terms of power or recharging speed.
A third version of tomorrow’s premium mobility
Since last summer, Audi has been drawing the contours of the brand’s future with the rings by unveiling a range of concept cars. It started in California during Monterey Car Week with the Audi skysphere. A spectacular self-driving convertible that transforms into a sports car with variable wheelbase. In the autumn, it was unveiled at the IAA trade fair in Munich, Audi’s grand sphere. A large and prestigious sedan that illustrates its ambition to define the future of progressive luxury. Today, Audi completes its vision of tomorrow’s first-class mobility with the Audi urban sphere. A spacious limousine that serves as a mobile living room or office for hours spent in traffic. These three concept cars have in common the ability to integrate autonomous driving at level 4. A technology that Audi plans to introduce on some of its vehicles in the second half of the decade.
“Co-creation” with potential customers
The Urbansphere concept is primarily aimed at residents of major Chinese cities. To live up to their expectations, Audi’s design studios in Beijing and Ingolstadt worked closely together. They also associated their considerations with potential Chinese customers. The latter participated in the development process by bringing their own wishes and experiences. The result of this ” co-creation found mainly inside the vehicle. This acts as a third place in life in the hours spent in traffic. To this end, the Audi urban sphere combines the luxury of complete privacy with a full range of high-tech features. Level 4 automated driving technology transforms the interior without steering wheel, pedals or screens into a mobile interactive space. A space that opens up the offerings of a complete digital ecosystem.
The Audi urban sphere concept is proving to be the largest model of all Audi concept cars to date. Its dimensions (5.51 meters long, 2.01 meters wide, 1.78 meters high) are grandiose. They register it in the automotive world elite. The most striking dimension for the passengers is the unsurpassed wheelbase of 3.40 meters. It allows them to have a generous space as a characteristic element of comfort. These majestic proportions do not detract from the elegance and dynamism of the urban sphere. The fluid silhouette of the body incorporates traditional Audi shapes and elements, combined here to create a new composition. Seen from the side, the roof arch is dynamic and broadly curved. The wedge-shaped body is underlined by the large, flat windshield. Front and rear large digital light surfaces mark the design and act as communication elements.
A concept car that transforms into a platform for revolutionary experiences
As far as possible, the Audi urbansphere frees the driver from the burden of driving. It also gives each passenger a wide range of opportunities to use this freedom to enjoy personalized experiences. Experience communicating or relaxing, working or retiring in a private sphere whenever desired. The concept car itself is also transforming from a simple car to a platform for groundbreaking experiences. With Audi’s own capabilities and the ability to integrate digital services from other providers, the possibilities are endless. In addition to services related to the current trip, the vehicle takes care of daily tasks such as making dinner reservations or shopping online from the car. Completely autonomously, the urbansphere concept can also pick up passengers at home, find a parking space and recharge the battery.
Priority for interior space
The word “sphere” in the name suggests that the urbansphere concept car focuses on the interior space, the cabin. Driveline or driving dynamics are no longer the main requirements for this new generation of cars. Instead, the cabin becomes the basis of design and technology. This means that it transforms into the life and experience sphere of passengers on the road. Their needs and desires shape this space, its architecture and all the integrated features. As a result of this change, the design process itself also changes. At the beginning of all discussions, the focus is on the interior. It is then only afterwards that the package, the outer lines and the proportions are designed. Combined with the technological specifications, these elements transform the car into a complete work of art.
A cabin that opens to passengers
The doors of the urban sphere are counter-hinged at the front as well as at the rear; there is no B-pillar.Thus, the whole world of the cabin opens up to the passengers as soon as they enter. Four individual seats in two rows give passengers a luxurious travel comfort. The seats also respond to the changing social needs of the passengers. While talking, passengers can turn face to face thanks to the swivel seats. Those who want a bit of privacy can hide their head from the person next to them using a private screen mounted behind the headrest. The interior of the urban sphere blends space and architecture, digital technology and authentic materials into a single unit. The lines emphasize the horizontal proportions of the vehicle. The open and wide cabin gives the impression of a unique space.
A concept car that takes advantage of the PPE platform
The Urbansphere concept is based on the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) technology platform, which is exclusively dedicated to electric vehicles. It takes advantage of all the benefits associated with this technology. The key element of this platform is a battery module placed between the shafts. Audi has managed to achieve a flat battery layout by using almost the entire bottom of the vehicle between the axles. Together with the large 24-inch wheels, this provides design-perfect basic proportions. This also allows for a spacious interior and plenty of legroom between the rows of seats. In addition, the absence of gearbox and transmission tunnel increases comfort in electric cars.
Up to 750 km range and ultra-fast charging
With an energy capacity of 120 kWh, the battery in the urban sphere concept offers up to 750 km of autonomy according to the WLTP standard. This battery also has 800 volt technology. Enough to accept a charge of up to 270 kW power on ultra-fast charging stations. Thus, the charging times approach a conventional stop to refuel with a thermal vehicle. Ten minutes is enough to regain more than 300 km of autonomy. And to charge the battery from 5 to 80%, it takes less than 25 minutes. A battery that drives two electric motors with a total power of 295 kW with a torque of 690 Nm. Impressive figures, although this effect is rarely fully exploited when driving in urban traffic.