It's no secret that Audi is readying a line of electric cars under the e-tron brand. You can already buy the e-tron SUV for about £70,000 and Audi will soon introduce production versions of the e-tron GT and the gorgeous PB18 e-tron sportscar. Another new model is the new AI:ME concept which was just revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show.
You won't be wrong if you think you've seen this design before as it shares many design elements with the Audi Aicon concept and even the VW I.D. That's because the AI:ME will be Audi's version of the VW I.D.
With it being so similar to the VW I.D., specs are similar too. The AI:ME has an underfloor 65kWh battery which sends power to a 167bhp motor on the rear axle.
The AI:ME is designed as a compact crossover, despite looking more like a traditional hatchback. Audi doesn't say what platform the AI:ME is based on, but it's safe to assume that it's based on the VW Group's MEB electric platform which underpins the VW I.D. and the SEAT el-Born. When it comes to dimensions, the AI:ME is similarly sized to the previously mentioned electric hatchbacks, with a length of 4.3 metres, a width of 1.9 metres and a height of 1.5 metres.
When asked about the AI:ME's styling, Audi's chief designer Andreas Mindt said: “urban cars all look like telephone boxes, and we didn’t want a machine like that.” He went on to say: “It’s still simple and boxy, with clear lines.” He was then faced with the question of a potential production version of the AI:ME: “We are working on this, let’s say. There can be. I’m not allowed to say too much, but maybe. Why not?”
The exterior has a few quirky styling features too. The windows are interesting as they're split into two different sections. The top section is the widest part of the window and is the static part of the window. The bottom half is the section that opens. Mindt has an explanation for this and said: "the widest point is where your head is, where you want the most space." This also means with the opening bottom half, air is directed towards your body, rather than your face.
LED lighting is also a main feature of the exterior with the front and rear being designed in such a way to send signals to pedestrians and other vehicles through an elaborate light show.
The interior is a pleasant space in itself with the use of lots of wood, living plants in the roof and dashboard, and soft-touch materials which include fabric seats. The interior is also quite practical (according to Audi) with two tables, a food storage unit and magnetic cup holders. There are no traditional storage areas on the dashboard or in the door cards as this apparently reduces the chance of leaving personal items in shared cars.
The AI:ME doesn't have a traditional infotainment system either. Instead, it has been replaced with a large, augmented reality display, which can be controlled by gestures or your eyes as it has eye-tracking cameras. It can also be used with touch panels which are built into the doors.
The AI:ME also features level 4 autonomy which allows the interior to be as simple and passenger focused as possible. This also means that the steering wheel can hide away while the car is driving itself in autonomous mode.
What do you think of the AI:ME?
The AI:ME is a very bold car for Audi and signals the future direction of the luxury brand. I like the look of this concept, and it reminds me of the Audi A2 of the early 2000s. But I want to know what you think. Leave a comment down below with your thoughts.