We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again – the future of cars is electric, whether anyone likes it or not. The sales of EVs has rocketed in the past year and with more and more countries likely to mandate them, we better get used to the idea. Today when you think electric cars, the name Tesla comes to the mind first. Audi wants to change that with this. The Aicon.

The biggest hurdle to a wide acceptability of electric cars has got to be range anxiety that buyers feel. There’s always that feeling of getting stranded out in the middle of nowhere without warning. And though there are more charging outlets coming up, there’s no running away from it. Audi wants to change this and claims a range between 435 and 497 miles (700 to 800 kms) on a single charge. If that doesn’t make you a convert, we don’t know what else will.

Another highlight of the Aicon is the lack of a steering wheel and pedals inside the cabin! A car without any manual controls is Audi making a statement. And that statement is that autonomous cars will be common place in the future. The lack of typical controls and for that matter a traditional dashboard makes for a roomy cabin. Instead there is, what Audi calls, the PIA – an electronic vehicle assistant.  A user simply ‘inputs’ commands using touch sensitive control panel.

There are different modes of input as well. Besides the haptic-manual layer, there are also voice control and eye tracking, in which sensors in the front end of the interior track where the passenger is looking. So what does one do when the car is driving itself? Audi suggests watching a movie, surfing a web and even video conferencing. But given that the front seats of this 2+2 seating arrangement turn inwards, talking to each other isn’t so bad either. Where are the rear seats though? Look carefully and you’ll notice that the two-seat bench has been integrated into the rear panel making best use of the interior space.

Audi also says that the Aicon has been designed with long range driving in mind and the suspension and drivetrain have been suitably optimized. Given that cars of the future will all be connected to each other, even at speeds of around 80 mph, longer distances will be covered in shorter times.

The Aicon has four electric motors placed on the front and rear axles. The motors together produce a diesel like 450 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque and since all wheels are powered, this is a new form of Audi’s Quattro four wheel drive if you think about it. Aided by the car’s aerodynamic shape, the range of 497 miles doesn’t seem out of reach. Powering the motors is a high-voltage system of 800 volts. This allows the large capacity lithium-ion batteries placed beneath the car’s floor to be charged by up to 80 percent in 30 minutes!

The future sure looks good and we can’t wait. Can you?