Audi has unveiled its third electric vehicle in its Sphere concept series, the latest to arrive as the German automaker’s biggest to date. The Audi urbansphere concept offers a glimpse into a future of electromobility, in which our vehicles are more of a lounge or a “mobile office” than just a means of transport.
As Audi continues to expand its all-electric offering through its e-tron line, it continues to develop and showcase unique and technologically advanced concept EVs to support a future where we may have more time in our vehicles but less time driving spend.
Some of the coolest and most innovative designs we’ve seen from Audi have been developed in the Sphere electric vehicle concept line. This exploration of the future viability of Audi EVs began with the ultra-sporty Skysphere concept, which we got an up-close look at last summer. Capable of switching between Grand Touring and Sport modes, this EV essentially offers two different vehicles.
If you’re thinking, “Big whoop. I’ve seen a lot of vehicles with multiple driving modes,” keep that thought in mind. Did we mention that the Skysphere concept actually changes shape? See for yourself:
By fall 2021, the Skysphere has been complemented by a second Audi concept called the Grandsphere, designed for autonomy and described by Audi as “a private jet or first class for the road.” Could this be a first indication of what an all-electric A8 will look like? We think so.
With its most recent unveiling, Audi has completed a trifecta of its Sphere line with the new urbansphere concept – by far the largest of the group. Don’t twist it, this isn’t a mini van. This concept represents Audi-style luxury in a larger electric vehicle with technology we may soon see in production models.
The Audi urbansphere concept is packed with cool features.
Audi today unveiled the third concept in its Sphere range via a press release, along with a slew of images and videos. Designed for rush-hour commutes in megacities (particularly in China), the Urbansphere concept is rich in digital features and services, which Audi says are indicative of the convenience of its future electric vehicles.
Audi’s design studios in Beijing and Ingolstadt worked together to develop this latest concept, even using input from potential customers in China. Audi best describes its latest creation:
The spacious car acts as a rolling lounge and mobile office and serves as a third living space while on the road. To this end, the Audi urbansphere combines the luxury of absolute privacy with a comprehensive range of high-tech features on board, even during the daily rush hour. Automated driving technology transforms the interior, notably lacking a steering wheel, pedals or displays, into a mobile interactive space that provides a gateway to a broader digital ecosystem.
There is a LOT to unfold in this version, so here are some of the key features:
- This is the largest Audi concept yet at 18 feet long, 6.6 feet wide and 5.8 feet tall with a massive 11.2 foot wheelbase.
- It picks up its passengers autonomously, finds a parking space on its own and charges its battery.
- The doors are oppositely hinged at the front and rear, without a B-pillar.
- Seats swivel outwards and a red carpet of light is projected onto the floor next to the vehicle.
- A large-format, transparent OLED screen pivots vertically from the roof area into the zone between the rows of seats and takes up the entire width of the interior.
- The steering wheel, pedals and dashboard can be hidden during automated driving.
- An adaptive stress detection program uses face scans and voice analysis to determine how passengers are feeling and can provide personalized relaxation suggestions, such as a meditation app on the passenger’s personal screen and a private sound zone in the headrest.
- Many of the interior materials come from sustainable sources.
- The illuminated 3D canvas surfaces on the exterior can be adapted to the current traffic situation, the environment or the mood of the passengers.
- 800 volt charging technology enables up to 270 kW on fast chargers.
- The 120kWh battery can be charged from 5-80% in less than 25 minutes
- 750 kilometers (466 miles) range (WLTP)
The introductory video below gives a good look at the interior and exterior of the urbansphere concept along with some insights from the Audi team. Have a look:
I know, I know – It’s a concept. Nevertheless, Audi has gone one better with the urbansphere. If you look at the trifecta of sphere concepts as a whole, Audi dreams of exciting and luxurious technology for its electric vehicles.
I doubt Audi’s next electric vehicle will be able to pick you up at home, make your dinner reservations and then park for you, but the concept represents a future in mobility that suddenly feels much closer than it feels far away.
We’re always impressed by the innovations Audi brings to the table, and I’m personally excited to see what technology makes it into actual production vehicles.
Can you imagine rolling out a digital red carpet for your passengers every time they get into your electric vehicle? What a flex.
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