Audi A3 Plug-In Debuts at Shanghai Show

By John O'Dell April 20, 2011

audi a3 etron concept _main.jpg

Audi took another step down the road to electrification this week with the introduction of the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid at the Shanghai Auto Show. Although introduced as a concept, it wouldn't take much to turn it into a production model, which would be in keeping with Audi's promise to develop more of its cars with electric-drive variants.

audi_a3-e-tron sedan rear_large thumb.jpgIf that's the case, we could see an A3 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV,) or perhaps just a standard hybrid version, on the road as early as 2013. The conventionally powered version of the new A3 is due to hit showrooms next year and Audi also has shown an all-electric version of the present A3 sportwagon.

In auto show dress, the A3 e-tron PHEV concept pairs a turbocharged, direct-injection 4-cylinder gas engine with a 20 kiloWatt (27 horsepower) electric motor and a rechargeable 12-kiloWatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that stores enough juice to deliver up to 34 miles of all-electric drive before the internal combustion engine kicks in.

>audi a3-e-tron interior _large thumb.jpgAudi rates the package at 238 horsepower when gas and electric power sources are operating in tandem (211 ponies from the gas engine) and says top speed is 143 miles an hour with 0-60 acceleration at 6.8 seconds. The power is channeled to the wheels (20-inchers on the concept) through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic.

Although the concept car's body is the same as the revamped 2013 A3 sedan, Audi says the chassis is based off the RS3 Sportback and features five suspension settings – covering everything from lull-me-to-sleep soft to oh-my-kidneys racetrack stiff.

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davemart1 says: 3:31 AM, 04.21.11

The trunk of this is full of batteries AFAIK, which would make it impractical as a road vehicle other than as a Mini-E try sort of affair.

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