Audi Urban Sphere envisions a lounge-sized EV for the city

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Audi on Tuesday unveiled the Urban Sphere concept, a large electric van and the latest of the automaker’s Sphere series of EV concepts.

The Urban Sphere was designed with dense Chinese cities in mind, and Audi even consulted with Chinese customers on aspects of the design, the automaker said in a press release.

The result is a fairly large vehicle stretching 217 inches long, with a 134.4-inch wheelbase. That makes room for a lounge-style interior with four individual seats that can recline up to 60 degrees, with extendable leg rests. Alternatively, up to six seats can be fitted, according to Audi.

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Audi Urbansphere concept

Audi Urbansphere concept

Rear-seat passengers get a transparent fold-down OLED screen that can be used for conference calls or streaming videos. A split-screen function lets each passenger view their own content.

The Urban Sphere rides on the Volkswagen Group’s Premium Platform Electric (PPE), and has a 120-kwh battery pack and dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain rated at 395 hp and 508 lb-ft of torque. It’s also designed to stop the front motor in certain situations to improve efficiency.

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An 800-volt electrical architecture allows for DC fast charging at a peak 270 kw, which can accomplish a 5%-80% charge in under 25 minutes, Audi claims.

Audi Urbansphere concept

Audi Urbansphere concept

The Urban Sphere is the third of a series of Sphere concepts from Audi, pointing to more daring designs for future EVs, incorporating autonomous driving. The Skysphere is a sports car concept for an era of autonomous driving, while the Grandsphere focuses around how future EV and autonomous-driving tech might look in a large sedan.

The Sphere concepts are each a slightly more near-term idea of the future versus Audi’s 2017 Aicon concept, which made no provision for a steering wheel.

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