No more. Not only is telematics big, but vehicles themselves are falling in the gadget category. Exhibit A, literally: Audi’s multiprong effort in 21st Century cars. Besides NAIAS, they chose CES to show the Quattro Laserlight concept. That’s “laser,” as in lasers = cool, and “Quattro™,” as in “we need 4 wheels to handle the 700 horsepower.” Yup, not 170 hp, but seven hundred hybrid horsies. It’s a concept car, sure. But Volkswagen AG has committed to EVs and PHEVs, including two Porsches. Now add Audi’s (planned) designs in (arguably) three segments.
And no mild hybrid, this Audi. The electric motor gives 110 kW (147 hp), as much as the Honda Accord Hybrid, and backed up by a battery good for ~30 miles. Longer distances or higher speeds invoke the 4.0L V8, literally twice the engine as the Honda. This scheme allows deactivation of some cylinders while putting along, which is most of the time. The two systems can then be combined, by computer or on command, for those seven hundred fun fillies.
The laser part of the pitch is Audi’s headlamp scheme. LEDs are used for low beams; still a bit luxurious but nothing new here. High beams, then, use lasers, claimed to be good for hundreds of yards while being much smaller than today’s optics. In the case of a car, that doesn’t imply much of an aerodynamic advantage. On a motorcycle, though, every bit helps, and one laser would be significant. Hmmm, Audi owns Ducati!
We don’t have flying cars, sure. But the future is here nonetheless- would you turn down an Audi Laserlight? And that’s a halo car, a sport version. A daily driver product would be driveable, indeed. Quite driveable.