Sceptical Audi returns to electric sports cars

martes 3 de marzo de 2015 08:08 GYT

* Revamped R8 e-tron has doubled range to 450 km

* Audi's "halo" car polishes lineup, lowers CO2 - analysts

* R8 e-tron sales won't exceed 100 cars per year - IHS

By Andreas Cremer

BERLIN, March 3 (Reuters) - More than two years since abandoning electric cars, Audi has returned with the R8 e-tron, in a move that looks more like an attempt to keep its options open than a full conversion to the technology.

Battery-powered cars have failed to live up to their initial hype, with drivers put off by the slow rollout of recharging stations, limited range and high prices -- despite generous sales incentives in some markets.

By 2020, fewer than one in 20 vehicles produced is forecast to be equipped with electrified powertrains, business consultants KPMG said in a survey in January.

Audi, the flagship brand of German carmaker Volkswagen <VOWG_p,DE>, has been reluctant to embrace the technology, arguing it was better to make diesel cars cleaner or focus on hybrids that combine a combustion engine with battery power.

It flirted with an electric R8 sports car in 2009, promising a thrilling performance but an underwhelming range of 134 miles. It wasn't enough, and Audi dropped the concept in 2012, the year rival Tesla's Model S came out with double the range.   Continuación...