Audi announced it will conduct a battery-electric A3 e-tron pilot program in the U.S. to identify challenges and opportunities with plug-in vehicles. Taking place in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Denver markets, the program marks the first step by Audi into the expanding U.S. electric vehicle (EV) landscape.
The A3 e-tron features a fully electric powertrain with a 26kw lithium-ion battery, zero driving emissions, 199 lb.-ft. torque, a battery range of approximately 90 miles, and a top speed of 90 mph.
The pilot will run throughout the year and provide actionable feedback and telematics data to Audi engineering teams in the U.S. and Germany. By studying e-tron use across multiple geographical regions, the automaker will monitor the effect of climate conditions, driving patterns and energy performance, and use insight gained in the final development of future EV technology applications.
“As part of the long-range Audi corporate goal of moving toward CO2-neutral mobility, there will be e-tron plug-in vehicle products exhibiting all of the performance and design attributes Audi drivers have come to expect,” said Johan de Nysschen, president, Audi of America. “Audi is committed to refining Audi e-tron technology and we expect our plug-in vehicles to become a significant choice for our buyers within a growing line of advanced, efficient Audi powertrains over the coming years.”
The Audi A3 is currently available in the U.S. in gasoline-powered and clean diesel TDI configurations.
The addition of the e-tron name indicates that an advanced electrified power train with a plug-in capability is onboard. As a core philosophy of e-tron, Audi engineers are researching e-tron power concepts tailored to different vehicle types and driving needs including full battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and extended range electric (EREV) versions.
Audi made the announcement of the engineering-based pilot program for the A3 e-tron Feb. 27 at TED2012 in Long Beach, Calif., where Audi is presenting a vision for the role transportation will play in the world's increasingly congested urban centers of the future. The TED2012 Conference invites the global thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes.