Audi has unveiled its third EV in its sphere concept series, the latest arriving as the German automaker’s largest to date. The Audi urbansphere concept offers a glimpse into a future of electric mobility in which our vehicles are more of a lounge, or “mobile office,” than a mere vessel for transportation.
As Audi continues to expand its all-electric offerings through its e-tron line, it continues to develop and unveil unique and technologically advanced concept EVs to support a future in which we may spend more time in our vehicles but less time actually driving.
Some of the coolest and most innovative designs we have seen from Audi have come on EVs within its Sphere concept line. This exploration into the future capability of Audi EVs began with the ultra-sporty skysphere concept, which we got an up-close look at last summer. This EV can switch between Grand Touring and Sport mode, essentially offering two different vehicles.
If you’re thinking, “Big whoop. I’ve seen plenty of vehicles with multiple drive modes, ”hold that thought. Did we mention the skysphere concept actually changes shape? See for yourself:
By the fall of 2021, the skysphere was joined by a second Audi concept called the grandsphere, designed around autonomy and described by Audi as a “private jet or first class for the road.” Could this be an early hint at what an all-electric A8 will look like? We think so.
With its latest unveiling, Audi has completed a trifecta of its Sphere line with the new urbansphere concept – by far the largest of the group. Don’t get it twisted, this is no mini van. This concept represents Audi-style luxury in a larger EV with tech we may soon see on production models.
The Audi urbansphere concept is loaded with cool features.
Audi unveiled the third concept in its Sphere series via a press release today, alongside a slew of images and video. Designed for commuting through rush hour in megacities (particularly in China), the urbansphere concept is abundant in digital features and services that Audi calls a hint at the comforts its future EVs will offer.
Audi’s design studios in Beijing and Ingolstadt worked together to develop this latest concept and even used input from potential customers in China. Audi describes its latest creation best:
The spacious automobile acts as a lounge on wheels and a mobile office, serving as a third living space during the time spent in traffic. To this end, the Audi urbansphere combines the luxury of complete privacy with a comprehensive range of high-tech features on board, even during the daily rush hour. Automated driving technology transforms the interior, in which a steering wheel, pedals, or displays are notably absent, into a mobile interactive space that provides a gateway to a wider digital ecosystem.
There’s a LOT to unfold in this release, so here are some of the key features:
- This is the largest Audi concept to date at 18 feet long, 6.6 feet wide, and 5.8 feet tall with a massive wheelbase of 11.2 feet.
- It autonomously picks up its passengers and can independently find a parking space and charge its battery.
- The doors are counter-hinged at the front and rear with no B-pillar.
- Seats swivel outward and a red carpet of light is projected onto the ground next to the vehicle.
- There is a large-format, transparent OLED screen that pivots vertically from the roof area into the zone between the rows of seats, occupying the entire width of the interior.
- The steering wheel, pedals, and dashboard can be hidden during automated driving.
- An adaptive Stress detection program uses facial scans and voice analysis to determine how passengers are feeling and can offer personalized suggestions for relaxation, like a meditation app used on the passenger’s personal screen and private sound zone in their headrest.
- Many of the materials in the interior come from sustainable sources.
- The illuminated 3D canvas surfaces on the exterior can be adapted to a given traffic situation, environment, or even the mood of the passengers.
- 800 volt charging technology allows for up to 270 kW at fast chargers.
- 120 kWh battery pack can charge from 5–80% in under 25 minutes
- 750 km (466 miles) range (WLTP)
The introductory video below gives a good look at both the interior and exterior of the urbansphere concept along with some insight from the Audi team. Have a gander:
I know, I know – It’s a concept. But still, Audi has knocked it out of the park yet again with the urbansphere. If you look at the trifecta of sphere concepts as a whole, Audi is dreaming up some exciting and luxurious technology for its EVs.
I doubt Audi’s next EV will be able to pick you up at home, make your dinner reservation, then park for you, but the concept does represent a future in mobility that suddenly feels a lot closer than it is far.
We’re constantly impressed by what Audi is bringing to the table in terms of innovation, and I personally am excited to see what technology makes it into actual production vehicles.
Can you imagine having a digital red carpet rolled out for your passengers every time they enter your EV? What a flex.
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