These are turning out to be creative times for automakers tasked with developing electrified ideas, and Audi’s unique Urban concept with wireless charging is no exception.

Unveiled Sunday at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the ultralight 1+1 city car – made in a coupe and spyder version – is the response to a no-holds-barred question asking for new thinking.

Audi asked: “How much car is necessary to deliver driving pleasure and urban mobility in an entirely new way?”


Less is more: Audi Urban concept.

The answer, the company says, resulted in the birth to the Urban concept, adding that designers kept a sailplane model in the development studio as an example of lightweight construction, efficiency and reduction – and as a reminder of the principle of “less is more.”

Audi says the 1,058-pound (480-kg) vehicle is not based on any previous automotive category or Audi concept and “combines elements of a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept.”

It uses two 20-horsepower (15-kw) e-tron electric motors paired between the rear single-ratio-driven wheels delivering about 35 pound-feet (47 Nm) of torque.

The 7.1 kWh li-ion battery is transversely mounted behind the seats and weighs 198.5 pounds (90 kg).


Step in, have a seat, and take off with the roof open, if you like.

Performance is said to be 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 16.9 seconds. It gets to 37 mph (60 kph) in 6.9 seconds. Its European drive cycle range is 45 miles (73 mph).

Recharge time from 230-volt European house current is about an hour, and this time can reportedly be cut to 20 minutes when 400-volt, three-phase current is applied.

What's more, the concept uses Audi Wireless Charging (AWC), a form of contactless induction charging.

The infrastructure side includes a coil and an inverter (AC/AC converter) placed on the Audi's parking location – at home for now, and Audi is working on solutions for parking garages and more. A 3.6-kw primary coil set into the plate generates a high-frequency alternating field activated when the vehicle parks in place.


Neo-retro convertible. How would you feel riding around town in this?

How does it work?

"The alternating magnetic field of the infrastructure side induces an alternating current across the air gap in the secondary coil, which is integrated into the vehicle. This current is rectified and fed into the vehicle’s electrical system, where it charges the battery or powers consumers such as the heater. The alternating field is only generated if the vehicle is standing over the plate and thus poses no danger to people or animals.

The car’s shell material is carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), and the occupant shell is a mix of aluminum and CFRP monocoque.

Getting in and out of it is just about as novel.

The vehicle's cabin offers slightly offset seating for two with a roof that slides back for entry.


With fender-mounted LEDs lit.

Audi says without great flexibility required, driver and passenger step into the door-less vehicle much like you would a bathtub. To make it even more fun to drive, the sliding roof on the coupe can remain open in good weather.

Sitting in the car is said to be somewhat like sitting in an airplane cockpit. The driver can precisely adjust the positions of the aluminum pedals and steering column with both components being telescoping for a custom driving position.

Although driver and passenger sit next to one another, the right seat is offset to the rear by 11.81 inches (30 cm) to provide shoulder and elbow room. To save weight, the seats are fixed, integral components of the monocoque and covered with foam custom-fabricated to the customer's measurements. The seat belts run through cutouts in the seat backs.

A mat covers parts of the floor, rather than carpeting. It is made from a water-repellant and durable technical textile originally developed for athletic shoes. The seats are covered with cloth, with the edges of the foam pads framed in kangaroo leather. Aluminum applications accentuate the dashboard.



Suspension is wishbone-type made from CFRP and aluminum to position the 21-inch free-standing wheels. Tire sizes are unique also at 125/60 in front and 145/50 in the rear.

Atop the fenders are innovative LED strips used as more conspicuous turn signal/marker lights.

“The highly concentrated look of the technical study, with its forward-urging lines, is dynamic and emotional – it lends Audi’s design language a completely new impetus,” Audi says.

The suspension mounts the struts like some racecars in a nearly horizontal fashion connected by pushrods. Four discs do the stopping duties.

The turning circle is less than 29.5 feet (nine meters) for maneuvering in tight city environments. No power assist is required for the rack-and-pinion steering.


Staggered seats and good visibility.

Audi says safety has been as studiously thought out as the rest of the car, with crumple zones in front and rear as well as two airbags to create a high degree of passive safety.

Included is an electronic assist to aid the driver in avoiding accidents with pedestrians.

Fresh ideas are good

Yesterday we saw Opel’s idea of lightweight urban mobility, today we see Audi's.

We will see more designs this week and whether they make it to series production stage or merely lend new direction, it is positive for electric vehicles that manufacturers are spending this much effort.

German-language video has the sound turned off.

So, how would you re-engineer this to make it ready for prime time?

The Audi's 45-mile range sounds a bit like a hard sell, but what if a vehicle like this was made a little larger, with more power capacity to enhance range and speed as well?

The mantra of "less is more" has been said to be particularly appropriate for EVs, as it helps maximize performance from a limited energy budget.

Less mass offer a cascade of benefits, including less power is required, which means smaller batteries and motor are needed, which means less to pay for, and it takes less time to recharge.

Or, how would this be as an EREV, say maybe with a 600cc three- or four-cylinder genset and a bit more battery/motor power as well?

If its head-turning looks were matched with more performance, it could be another step toward fun-to-drive solutions trumping other automaker's more frumpy eco-friendly designs.

Like it or not, this car is more reminiscent of a vintage hotrod than something one would expect from Audi, and it appears to have a lot of the right stuff for improved possibilities to follow.

Audi .