The Audi Activesphere Concept Is an SUV-to-Truck Transformer With AR Headsets

It has a rear panel that slides open to reveal a pickup bed.

byChris Tsui| PUBLISHED Jan 26, 2023 1:30 PM
The Audi Activesphere Concept Is an SUV-to-Truck Transformer With AR Headsets

The Audi Activesphere concept is the fourth and final entry in Audi's "sphere" series of concept cars and, in short, a lot is going on. Just like what feels absolutely everything new these days, the Activesphere is an electric crossover made for activities. Unlike most everything else, it's a crossover that can slide its rear window up and turn into a makeshift pickup, revealing a "bed" that is big enough for two e-bikes.

Its interior interface also uses augmented reality headsets for the front occupants. These headsets project touch-sensitive control panels and virtual displays, tracking your eyes and displaying more detail from the elements you are focusing on.

This system has allowed Audi to rework where various functions are placed via software. For example, virtual HVAC controls hover near the air vent while sound controls are placed by the speaker. Of course, driving-related data is also projected via AR such as surface topography in off-road mode as well as traffic and navigation data.

What's more, Audi says the Activesphere's passenger can take their AR headset outside the car and use it on their next ski or mountain bike expedition.

As a design, the Activesphere uses a hell of a lot of glass; the brand's Singleframe grille shape isn't actually a grille here but a transparent piece, making the place very airy. The lower doors are also transparent, as is the roof. Another thing that makes this car feel more open than most is the lack of a B-pillar. The front doors open conventionally, but the rears are suicides.

Stepping inside, there is a dashboard, steering wheel, and pedals that can be shuttered away when the vehicle is in autonomous driving mode.

Speaking of driving, Audi says this car's 100-kWh-ish battery is good for over 373 miles while 800-volt tech allows for fast charging. Electric motors on both axles produce a total of 436 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. Air suspension and adaptive dampers presumably keep things planted and comfortable and can be raised or lowered by 40 mm. The 22-inch wheels have movable parts that open for ventilation off-road and close to benefit on-road aerodynamics.

The Activesphere is based on the company's Premium Platform Electric architecture co-developed with Porsche. Audi says the platform supports charging up to 270 kW and the equivalent of 186 miles gained in as little as 10 minutes (or 5% to 80% in 25 minutes), but I'll believe it when I see it.

Obviously, the very radical-looking vehicle you see here is a concept but Audi says the first production cars built on the Premium Platform Electric base will arrive by the end of this year.

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