Audi will put the R8 e-tron electric sportscar into production this year, offering it to a very limited clientele. The fleet of 1,000 cars will be a testbed used by the Ingolstadt carmaker to find out what it need for a bespoke electric sportscar.

These are the first spy shots of the pre-production vehicle as it was testing at the Nurburgring track in almost complete silence yesterday. Audi is making no efforts to hide what the red electric rocket actually is, as ‘e-tron’ is plastered all over the side of the car.

The only major difference over the regular R8 is that the EV has no tailpipes, as it will even be equipped with an artificial sound to announce its presence. Also, a big sign on the driver's side rear quarter window warns us of the danger the car poses if it crashes.

If they get it right, what do we need Tesla for?!

Check out the Audi R8 e-tron photo gallery

By Mihnea Radu