2013 Geneva Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- The 2014 Audi A3 E-tron, a plug-in version of the German automaker's hatchback, was previewed on Thursday ahead of its debut at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show.
- Audi previously said the A3 E-tron plug-in hybrid will be launched in 2014.
- The plug-in hybrid system for the A3 E-tron pairs a 148-horsepower 1.4-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine with an electric motor that delivers 100 hp.
The car represents the sweet spot for Audi's entry into the plug-in hybrid market. It is also noteworthy because it is not a pure electric vehicle. Audi has been testing a fleet of battery-electric A3 E-trons in the U.S.
"The BEV A3 E-tron has been here as an internal pilot project primarily for our technicians to check out range, performance issues etc.," wrote Brad Stertz, an Audi of America spokesman, in response to an e-mailed query by Edmunds. "But Audi AG has said for some time that PHEV would be its initial foray into EVs."
He added: "Still they are investigating a range of configurations."
Audi previously said the A3 E-tron plug-in hybrid will be launched in 2014.
The plug-in hybrid system for the A3 E-tron pairs a 148-horsepower 1.4-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine with an electric motor delivering 75 kilowatts or 100 hp. Audi said the electric power in the A3 E-tron returns 188 mpg on the European cycle. The A3 E-tron has a range on electric power alone for up to 31 miles at speeds of up to 80 mph. It sprints from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds, according to the automaker.
The car also features a newly designed six-speed "e-S tronic" transmission that transfers the power to the front wheels.
"The electrification of the drivetrain, above all using plug-in technology, will play a decisive role in the model strategy of (Audi)," said Audi in a statement. "This latest development is designed to give some insight into how the technology will take shape in the Audi models of the future."
A Volkswagen Golf plug-in hybrid is expected to follow the A3 E-tron in 2015.
Edmunds says: This may be one of the most important cars to debut at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show because it illustrates Audi's initial strategy for alt-fuel vehicles.