Audi A3 e-tron Prototype Joins The Fold

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Audi is showcasing the potential of its ‘e-tron’ electrified vehicle technology in virtually its entire lineup, with the A3 hatchback finally join the fold of the automaker’s next-generation vehicle prototypes. Just a few weeks back we saw the highly advanced A5 e-tron quattro prototype, which featured two separate hybrid modules including plug-in hybrid capability.

The latest A3 e-tron, on the other hand, features a more straight-forward electric drive system consisting solely of an electric motor that drives the front wheels. This electric motor is rated at 100 kW (134 horsepower) and 199 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to accelerate the A3 from 0-62 mph in a lethargic 11.2 seconds and see it hit a top speed of 90 mph.

On initial inspection the numbers may appear dreary but note that the car has a range of 87 miles—emissions free--on a single charge of its 26.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. Charging of the batteries takes about nine hours on a regular household power outlet or roughly four hours using a special 400 volt rapid charger.

On the outside, the A3 e-tron looks identical to the regular gasoline and diesel A3s on sale today. Inside, the prototype gets a revised instrument cluster, Alcantara trim, a heated windshield and low power consumption air conditioning system.

No word yet on when production of such a model will commence but Audi’s first all-electric e-tron vehicle is expected to be the R8 e-tron flagship, already confirmed for sale in the U.S. by 2013.

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