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Audi’s New Plug-in Hybrid

Audi’s New Plug-in Hybrid

The world of hybrid technology goes from strength to strength as manufacturers get to grips with economy and emissions and a host of new regulations. They are all working hard but one of the highlights of next month’s Geneva show will almost certainly be the Audi A3 e-tron.

The A3 is already a success story in its various guises, including the stunning new S3 Sportback. Now, the new e-tron offers a new glimpse into the future of the German car maker’s intentions with a car that has the potential to achieve 188mpg and exhaust emissions as low as 35g/km.

The hybrid integrates a conventional petrol engine and an electric motor as you‘d expect. The battery can be charged at the wall socket or rejuvenated on the road via the petrol engine. The combination of the two will offer impressive performance, exceptional efficiency and most crucially of all as far as buyers are concerned, freedom from the perils of range anxiety.

A modified 1.4L TFSI engine delivering 150PS will provide the usual power and is linked to the 75kw electric motor by a clutch built into a newly designed six-speed ‘e-S tronic’ auto gearbox; all of which drives the front wheels. The combined motors generate 204PS of power and an impressive 350PS of torque.

The Audi A3 e-tron will travel up to 31 miles on electric power alone at speeds of up to eighty miles per hour or it will run on petrol power alone. In hybrid mode, which is driver selectable, both units work together which is known as ‘boosting’. When the driver stops accelerating both motors will deactivate temporarily allowing the car to glide and thus save on fuel whilst recuperating energy.

There is no doubt that the Audi success story continues. Whilst some car makers struggle, Audi had its best ever sales last year, shifting nearly 1.5 million units worldwide. That’s up over ten percent on the previous year despite the world recession. Not being ones to rest on their laurels however, the company plan an investment in the future of some 13 billion in research and new models over the next few years.

This means that in just three or four years the Audi range will have expanded to some 42 models, including variants. There’s the regular range, the S range and the RS range with hatchbacks, Avants and Sport backs. There will also be a new generation R8. Vorsprung durch Technik, indeed.

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Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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