Audi began the e-tron series, a family of electric concept cars in late 2009. Joining the family, the Audi A3 e-tron was unveiled with a pilot program to serve as a learning tool for next generation Audi EV applications worldwide. The announcement was made at the 2012 Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Long Beach, California.
Together with this, Audi also presented a vision of the role of transportation in the worlds increasingly crowded urban areas. The German automaker will test the EVs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Denver, where the Audi Engineers will monitor how the e-tron technology functions in an everyday urban city. This study will include driving patterns, energy performance and the effect of climate conditions, and use the gathered data to develop future EV technology applications, and probably a production vehicle.
Audi Engineers are researching a variety of drive train technologies under the e-tron, including battery EV (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and extended range electric (EREV) versions.
Based on the Audi A3 hatchbach, the A3 e-tron features a fully electric powertrain with 26kW lithium-ion battery, with a range of 150km on full charge and offers zero emissions. The battery powers a 100kW (130hp) motor, which drives the front wheels and generates 270Nm of torque. The car weighs 1590kg and can reach speed up to 145kmph with a 0-100kmph of 11.2 secs.
Luxury car buyers are increasingly becoming receptive to plug-in hybrids and EV technology. According to Jeff Curry, e-mobility and sustainability strategy lead at Audi of America, “The A3 e-tron pilot program serves as an important innovation platform for Audi to develop greater insight into electric vehicles and how American driving conditions affect use of the progressive technology in everyday life. We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers.”