Representing Audi’s vision of reduced emissions motoring, the e-tron name first shocked the auto show circuit in September 2009 with an all-electric powertrain version similar to the Audi R8 supercar. Developing three additional show cars on e-tron technology, the German luxury carmaker’s latest e-tron Spyder concept uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Indicating intentions of adding a green sports car to their future line-up (around the 2013 or 2014 model year), Audi is also exploring the e-tron line of thinking for more modest vehicles.
Having showed off the technology on the small A1 in Geneva in 2010, the Audi display in China for the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show had the latest edition to the e-tron concept based on the stunning A3 sedan.
Shape with steel, aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced polymer materials, the Audi A3 e-tron replicates the proportions of the A3 Concept unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. One noted design difference between the next generation Audi A3 concept and the A3 e-tron concept is a tighter arrangement of horizontal grille bars.
LED headlights cast from Audi’s more aggressive projector design reflecting back on the A3 e-tron’s modern appearance. In concert with the cutting-edge A3 styling Audi is continuing to show off on the e-tron concept, the frame is sculpted in carbon fiber reinforced polymer offering premium weight reduction.
Despite the excessive use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers and aluminum, the Audi A3 e-tron is no lightweight. Due to the hardware employed on the Audi A3 e-tron, the plug-in hybrid is rather hefty at 3,792 pounds. Weighing almost the same as an Audi A7 Sportback, the A3 e-tron electric/gasoline hybrid combination does overcome the concept car’s weight. Operating alongside a 27 horsepower electric motor, a 1.4 liter, TFSI four-cylinder gasoline engine powers the Audi A3 e-tron confidently with 211 horsepower.
Collecting for 228 horsepower, performance specifications of the Audi A3 e-tron rates favourably with 0 to 62 mile per hour acceleration times of 6.8 seconds. A maximum speed of 143 miles per hour is slated to be obtainable with the premium compact concept.
Some performance-bred Audi enthusiasts will have been salivating for the 408 horsepower projected on the A3 concept may not find the A3 e-tron as alluring. However, as extreme engine output captivates only on open roads, the Audi A3 e-tron concept enables low-cost, zero-emissions motoring ideal for urban travel.
Driving on electric power only, the Audi A3 e-tron’s lithium ion battery allows the sedan to travel up to 34 miles before the small four-cylinder engine needs to supplement the vehicle’s propulsion. Electrical power is supplied through household outlet and is regenerated during driving. In both power modes, a 7-speed S tronic gearbox regulates distribution to the wheels.
Relaying the high-class, plug-in hybrid style inside, the Audi A3 e-tron interior’s centerpiece is the MMI multimedia system. Connecting the driver to automatic climate control and the premium stereo system controls, Audi’s wireless internet links to more far-reaching locales.
Riding on dramatic 20-inch wheels, the Audi A3 e-tron concept’s rolls with the confidence for a possible future endeavour into plug-in hybrid production technology.