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Audi Activesphere is an off-road EV concept

Off-road Audi Activesphere concept can transform body style at the push of a button

30 Jan 2023

AUDI has revealed the fourth and final concept in its ‘sphere’ series, the shape-shifting autonomous and all-electric Activesphere that melds four-door coupe and utility body styles with an all-wheel drive powertrain and off-road-ready air suspension.


It joins the Urbansphere people-mover concept, GT-style Grandsphere and stunning Skysphere roadster in demonstrating various applications of future propulsion systems and Level 4 autonomous driving technologies being considered by the four-ring brand.


Audi’s ‘Active Back’ solution enables the Activesphere to convert from an SUV to a ute at the push of a button, presenting a load area large enough to accommodate ski gear, a couple of bikes or watersports equipment via a bottom-hinged tailgate.


There is also a retractable ski rack integrated into the roof and a motorised bulkhead that separates the passenger and cargo compartments and protects occupants from the elements, as well as rear-view cameras in place of the wing mirrors.


Getting to its occupants’ favoured outdoor location is designed to be just as easy given the Activesphere’s 22-inch wheels with moveable tyre segments that open when off-road and close when driving on-road.


The air suspension arrangement can raise or lower 40mm from the standard setting, taking ground clearance to a maximum of 248mm – more than a LandCruiser 300.


Glass sections within the front doors and the leading edge of the bonnet help the driver to better place the vehicle off-road, though the approach and departure angles of 18.9 and 28.1 degrees respectively may limit the car’s ability.


Coupled with dual electric motors – one on each axle – the Activesphere rides on Audi’s forthcoming Premium Platform Electric architecture (developed in conjunction with Porsche) to provide 800-volt charging and an estimated driving range of more than 600km.


Audi says the battery can receive enough charge to provide 300km of driving within 10 minutes.


Drawing from a 100kWh battery pack, the Activesphere produces a total output figure of 325kW and 720Nm. Audi did not publish a 0-100km/h time or top speed number.


With similar proportions to the Q8 (4980mm long, 2070mm wide, 1600mm tall and 2970mm in wheelbase), the Activesphere presents a car-like interior for four occupants with controls that retract out of sight when operating in autonomous mode.


The individual bucket-style seats are suspended from the centre console, each offered with its own mixed-reality headset that operate various vehicle features via gesture control. The headsets can also be used to display entertainment or necessary driving information, such as navigation instructions.


The system is said to negate the need for in-built screens, which Audi says take up space, the dashboard instead featuring a full-width soundbar and air vent, while the centre console offers cup holders that are both cooled and heated.


“The sphere concept vehicles show our vision for the premium mobility of the future,” said Audi member of the board of management for technical development, Oliver Hoffmann.


“We are experiencing a paradigm shift, especially in the interior of our future Audi models. The interior becomes a place where the passengers feel at home and can connect to the world outside at the same time


“The most important technical innovation in the Audi Activesphere is our adaptation of augmented reality for mobility. Audi dimensions creates the perfect synthesis between the surroundings and digital reality.”

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