Audi Activesphere concept unveiled: The future is driven by AR

The Audi Activesphere concept is peek into what Audi’s EVs would be like in the future
The Audi Activesphere concept will get autonomous driving capability
The Audi Activesphere concept will get autonomous driving capabilityAudi

The Audi Activesphere concept is the fourth model that marks the culmination of Audi’s ‘sphere’ EV concept vehicle series, following the unveil of the Audi Skysphere roadster concept, the Grandsphere sedan and the Urbansphere space concept. These concepts from Audi have not just given us a peek into what cars of the future would like, but they are also a showcase for the technology that cars would be packing in the years to come, and the Activesphere concept is exciting on both fronts.

Singleframe grille can be seen through
Singleframe grille can be seen throughAudi

Audi Activesphere design

Like the name suggests, the Audi Activesphere concept is a four-door crossover coupe that is inspired by individuals who follow an active lifestyle, and the design is devoid of solid lines like an Audi of the present – with curved surfaces and glass panels making a significant part of the Activesphere’s body. The best example is the singleframe grille up front, which is designed from transparent glazing to give occupants an unobstructed view of the road. The silhouette is very much that of a sportback, and the Activesphere concept gets 22-inch wheels. Move over to the side and the lower halves of the doors, as well as the roof, get transparent glazing.

There is no B-pillar as such on the concept, with the Activesphere featuring suicide doors! Another cool element of the Activesphere is the transparent rear window that slides back and the rear can fold horizontally, transforming the back of the Activesphere into a pickup-like cargo bed that features brackets for e-bikes, with a bulkhead deploying from behind the rear seats to separate the cabin from the loading bay. A ski rack is integrated into the roof structure and Audi claims that this is their first sportback that incorporates the design elements and technical equipment of their Allroad models that are suited to off-roading and rugged conditions. In terms of dimensions, the Activesphere is 4.98 metres long, 2.07 metres wide and 1.60 metres high – and the Activesphere is claimed to be the same size as the Audi A6 e-tron which will come to market next year, based on the same PPE platform (premium platform electric) that underpins  the Audi Q8 e-tron and the upcoming all-electric Porsche Macan.

Dash stowed away when driving autonomously
Dash stowed away when driving autonomouslyAudi

Audi Activesphere interior

Step in through the suicide doors that open wide and you’re greeted by a cabin that has inspired by a lounge-like layout with four seats. It has a very minimalist interior, and when the Activesphere is driven autonomously, the entirety of the dashboard and the pedals are stowed away, rising up into position when you wish to take over the driving yourself.

... and it is present when you decide to take over driving control manually
... and it is present when you decide to take over driving control manuallyAudi

This provides an unobstructed view of the road from the front seats. The cabin is divided by a full-length centre console, and while there is no transmission tunnel required in an EV, it offers space for storage and even an on-board bar. Above the centre console, there is a storage space for four augmented reality (AR) headsets that help to operate the mixed reality technology that headlines the Activesphere.

Audi's new interface is called 'Dimensions' and makes use of AR headsets
Audi's new interface is called 'Dimensions' and makes use of AR headsetsAudi

Audi Activesphere AR technology

The Activesphere concept features a unique mixed reality AR interface that is called Audi Dimensions. This system is operated by the AR headsets, which need to be worn at all times even operating the vehicle autonomously, and Dimensions allows you to use very natural gestures to operate the various functions of the car, such as adjusting the temperature of the climate control, and the display for the relevant information is now in a much more interactive manner.

The system makes use of multiple optical layers and cameras to provide data such as the topography of the landscape in off-road mode or traffic safety information when driving. At the same time, your passengers can consume media via the AR headsets. These headsets, for instance, can also be taken out of the car and can give you information about the car such as the battery range or nearest charging stations, while also helping you navigate the best way down a ski-slope, if you wear these glasses while skiing. Screens are now a thing of the past!

Audi Activesphere powertrain

The Audi Activesphere is underpinned by the PPE platform with a battery between the axles which has a capacity of 100kWh. The Activesphere also gets all-wheel-drive (with two motors, one on each axle), with the concept delivering a total of 436bhp (325kW) and 720Nm of torque. All future models underpinned by the PPE platform will get the 800-volt charging technology, and the tech is claimed to enable charging times that will be close to the time taken to refuel an ICE-powered car, with 10 minutes of charge providing enough juice to the battery to power the car for more than 300km. This means the 100kWh battery can be charged from 0 to 80 per cent in less than 25 minutes, along with a claimed driving range of over 600km. 

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