Audi has announced its intentions its introduce a minimum of four plug-in hybrid models in the years to come, with the first one being the A3 e-tron scheduled to go on sale in Europe this month. The model will also reach United States in the second or third quarter of 2015 while China will get it also next year in the first or second quarter.
The company’s CEO Rupert Stadler said yesterday the model will be followed by other plug-in hybrid launches each year, starting in 2016 with the second generation Q7, followed by the long-wheelbase A6 (for China) and the flagship A8. Audi is going down the plug-in hybrid route because they believe it’s the ideal solution at this moment for a low-emission car since it doesn’t have the range issues found in battery-powered vehicles. Stadler characterized these plug-in hybrid models as “electric vehicles for everyday driving”.
As previously mentioned, the first of the bunch is the A3 e-tron equipped with a revised four-cylinder, 1.4-liter TFSI turbocharged gasoline engine delivering 150 PS (110 kW) which works together with an electric motor generating an additional 102 PS (75 kW). Thanks to this setup, the model offers a combined output of 204 PS (150 kW) and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque. Power is sent to the front axle with help from an e-S tronic 6-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid sprints to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.6 seconds and tops out at 138 mph (222 km/h) or 81 mph (130 km/h) in electric mode. It’s one of the most frugal hatchbacks out there as it has an average fuel consumption of just 1.5 liters / 100 km with corresponding CO2 emissions of only 35 g/km. In addition, the car can be driven solely on electric power and it can do up to 31 miles (50 km/h) before running out of juice.