Audi today presented its third concept car from the ‘Sphere’ collection to the world public. The new Urbansphere should be a fully electric minivan that can also drive autonomously. The concept car now primarily gives us an idea of how Audi will continue to develop its cars for years to come.
strong chinese influences
This Urbansphere has been developed with strong Chinese influences. For example, the interior was designed and built by the Chinese department of Audi, with the main focus on the consumer there. It is precisely for this Chinese market that Urbansphere is inspired and developed.
Despite the strong influences from China, the interior offers a good idea of what we can expect from Audi in the coming years, according to the Germans themselves. Despite the densely populated cities, anywhere in the world, this Urbansphere should offer a moment of peace and space during a car trip.
urbansphere is big
The prototype is really a huge car. The photo above already suggests this, but the real numbers confirm it once again. With a length of 5.51 meters, a width of 2.01 meters and a height of 1.78 meters, it can be said to be a giant. The most impressive size, however, is the wheelbase, which measures 3.40 meters. The latter also immediately confirms that he has enough space in the Urbansphere to relax. Especially when you know that the concept car has ‘only’ four seats.
Despite only having four individual seats, rear passengers get two reclining, swiveling seats with a wide range of adjustment options, plenty of room and all the comforts they need. These include individual monitors built into the front seat backs, a water and cup dispenser in the center console, VR goggles in the door armrests, and even a transparent OLED cinema screen that rotates vertically from the ceiling. These are things that you now only expect in the most luxurious model of the brand.
The roomy minivan, although Audi doesn’t call it that, acts as both a lounge on wheels and a mobile office, thus serving as a third living room during time spent in traffic.
Audi describes the vehicle as “a mobile interactive space that provides a gateway to a broader digital ecosystem“, offering passengers a personalized experience. The vehicle can perform services related to the current trip and perform daily tasks such as making dinner reservations or shopping online.
Urbansphere as an autonomous vehicle
Thanks to level 4 automated driving technology, which is shared with previous concepts, the Urbansphere hides the steering wheel, pedals or dashboard during automated driving. That just adds to the salon experience. Autonomous driving technology allows Audi Urbansphere to pick up its passengers at home, take them to their destination, find a parking spot to recharge the battery.
Compared to previous reveals, there seems to be little new to report on the design. As with the Grandsphere, the Urbansphere lacks the B-pillar. The wide doorway seems to be finding its way more and more as an alternative to sheer luxury. Also, we see the minimal design and narrow spans in the design of this Urbansphere. In any case, these design features seem to be slowly becoming a trend. There’s a good chance these things will be introduced to other models of your Audi soon.
Battery and range
Under the skin of Urbansphere is Audi Premium Platform Electric (PPE) EV Architecture with a discharged battery of more than 120 kWh between the axles. The package drives two electric motors with a total output of 395 hp. Thanks to the twin-engine layout, the concept car benefits from the permanently available quattro all-wheel drive. Interestingly, the front motor can be disabled if necessary to reduce friction and power consumption during sliding.
The PPE architecture also enables DC fast charging of up to 270 kW thanks to 800-volt charging technology. Charging the battery from 5% to 80% takes less than 25 minutes, while 10 minutes of fast charging adds 300km to the range.
Speaking of autonomy, according to the WLTP standard, the Audi Urbansphere covers up to 750 km on a single charge. To ensure that passengers drive in maximum comfort, Audi has equipped it with adaptive air suspension, with rear-wheel steering, increasing the maneuverability necessary for a vehicle of this size.
We should not expect this Urbansphere any time soon. The concept car now appears to be primarily aimed at the Chinese market. This is evidenced by the Chinese influences in the interior. Audi is not vague about it either and speaks of it with full pride.
Therefore, it seems very likely that this prototype, whatever its capabilities, will not appear on the European market. The underlying details and techniques will no doubt find their way back to the European models. Although the concept car has no added value for European consumers on paper, we can benefit from it in the future.