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Audi e-tron takes progressive technology and blends it with everyday usability, creating the electric driving experience of tomorrow. For you this means premium mobility, a hassle-free drive that has its foundations in the design you’ve already come to expect from an Audi. No more compromise.
Easy to charge, highly efficient and a significant step towards our vision to be CO2 neutral, Audi e-tron gives you the flexibility to choose to drive with just the combustion engine, just the electric drive, or in hybrid mode with both.
Winner of What Car? Best Electric Car
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron has been named "Best Electric Car of the Year" for 2015 by What Car? The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is a plug in hybrid electric vehicle that promotes mobility without compromise. A 75kW electric motor is coupled with a 1.4TFSI which means you have the performance and reliability of a combustion engine with the economy of an electric motor.
Audi claims three awards in the What Car? Awards 2015
The What Car? Awards are the benchmark for automotive quality and are only given to the cars that set the highest standards in their class each year.
The Audi TT Coupé has been named 'Best Coupé of the Year', the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron wins 'Best Electric Car of the Year' and the Audi A3 Cabriolet secures the 'Best Convertible of the Year'.
Here’s what Audi promises with the new A3 e-tron: a compact luxury hatchback that can achieve 157 mpg but also hit 138 mph. Based on the latest A3 Sportback—that’s Audi-ese for “five-door A3”—this model packs a 150-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a 102-hp electric motor, and enough battery storage to enable up to 31 miles of full-electric operation.
But the car is too good to be true. The mpg figure above is based on European standards, which are jiggered by the authorities to promote electrification by maximizing opportunities for vehicles to use their all-electric modes. Real-world drivers rarely achieve anything close to EU consumption estimates. In terms of this A3, when driven short distances and plugged in regularly, it won’t use any gasoline at all. But as soon as the batteries are depleted, fuel use will be essentially the same as a conventionally powered car.
We found this out last week while driving 50-mile loops that wound through Vienna city traffic and into the nearby mountains. During our first stint, we drove moderately and attempted to maintain a full battery by using the "hold" and "charge" modes. The former locks out the electric portion of the drivetrain (in case you want to save your EV mileage for, say, a restricted city center), whereas the latter forces the engine to act as a generator to maximize energy recuperation. In doing so, we saw an indicated 34 mpg in the cluster and returned with a completely full battery.
On our second run, we started out using solely electric power, ran until the batteries were empty, and then put the car into "auto" mode to allow it to both recapture energy and feed it back to the powertrain as it saw fit. We also may have possibly set an Austrian plug-in-hybrid speed record. The result: 42 mpg and a drained battery. Less aggressive journalists, however, managed 100 mpg and a depleted battery, too. For what it’s worth, we figure the EPA will rate this car at 95 MPGe combined in gas-electric operation.
The 96 liquid-cooled lithium-ion cells enabling such performance are recharged through a port located behind the Audi grille rings. According to Audi, the recharging process in Europe takes a good two hours with a high-voltage outlet and almost four hours using a household plug; those times aren’t exactly Tesla-quick, and you can figure on more time using lower-voltage U.S.-spec outlets.
Assuming that you drive very short distances every day and electricity is cheap—or cheaper than in Germany, anyway, which is in the costly process of shutting down its nuclear power plants—the A3 e-tron can be rather inexpensive to operate. Driven over long distances, the savings dwindle, and customers might well be better off with an A3 TDI.
Electricity is a Buzzkill
We’ll double down on the recommendation of a TDI for the fuel thrifty who actually like to drive. Saddled with an estimated 750 pounds of extra weight, the A3 e-tron doesn’t have much to offer anyone who isn’t into silently accelerating in all-electric mode to 60 mph in about 11 seconds. Yes, the full torque of the electric motor is available in Hybrid mode from 0 rpm and for up to 20 seconds when the battery is full.
Yes, the dual powertrains—which produce a combined 204 horsepower—can scoot the A3 e-tron to 60 mph in an estimated 7.5 seconds. Yes, the aerodynamically enhanced top speed of 138 mph is reached without electric power. And, yes, the Volkswagen Group’s excellent six-speed DQ400E dual-clutch automatic does the shifting. But these facts and figures fail to coalesce into something completely satisfying, and the whole isn’t as linear and predictable as a conventional car.