This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show served as the unveiling of the all-new Audi A3 for the North American market. Filling the spot of the A3 Sportback, the new A3 will shun the hatchback configuration for most models and will instead adopt more traditional sedan and convertible bodystyle.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the A3 Sportback, don’t lose hope yet, as Audi will continue to offer the hatchback body in the e-tron Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle model. As the name suggests, this model will be able to run on electricity alone for some miles before its gas engine kicks in.
For those of us interested in saving fuel at the pump, but not quite ready to make the transition to a plug-in hybrid car, the new A3 will be offered with Audi’s 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engines, producing 170 and 220-horsepower respectively. Audi will also offer a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine that will offer extended range and fuel efficiency over its gas-powered brethren.
If you’re a speed demon, you can also make your way up to the 290-horsepower S3 model. Expect a future RS3 model offering in excess of 300-horsepower.
But the A3 isn’t so much about horsepower, as it is about bringing Audi’s pursuit of luxury and technology to the masses. With a base price of $29,900, the all-new A3 gives customers the opportunity to own the first vehicle in its class with 4G LTE connectivity. This technology allows the all-new A3 to incorporate features such as Google Earth and Google Street View in its MMI infotainment system.
Operating in conjunction with a 7-inch screen that rises from the dash, MMI’s latest trick is the incorporation of a touchpad onto its rotary wheel. Teamed with the A3’s available 705-watt Bang & Olufsen Sound System, the compact Audi is turned into a miniature A8.
With available safety features such as active lane assist and adaptive cruise control, the Audi A3 incorporates a host of technologies to keep its passengers safe. Whether your new to the Audi brand, want to cut your emissions by investing in the A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV, or feel the need for speed that is the sporty S3, Audi’s latest compact model will leave you more than impressed with its available luxury and technology features.
With a slated launch date of mid-2014, the A3 e-Tron will be Audi’s first all-electric vehicle. Watch LAcarGUY’s Mike Sullivan describe highlights of the vehicle which include lithium ion batteries with a range of approximately 85 to a 100 miles per charge and 199 lb-ft of torque with zero pollutants.
As the industry moves forward with alternatively fueled vehicles, Audi will have several offerings including the Q5 in a diesel and hybrid and the all-electric A3.
Watch as Mike describes how LAcarGUY plans on preparing for a future with all-electric vehicles:
As part of the global testing program of Audi’s e-tron electric vehicle technology, we recently put A3 e-trons into the hands of a team of Audi of America employees. These e-Pilots, as they’re now known, will beta test the zero-emission, all-electric prototype version of the A3 in their day-to-day lives. Their real-world experiences will directly translate into the production Audi e-tron plug-in vehicles that will hit American roads in the not-to-distant future.
Audi today announced the battery-electric Audi A3 e-tron pilot program in the U.S. to define a progressive e- mobility driver experience for premium car buyers. Audi made the announcement of the engineering-based pilot program for the A3 e-tron today at TED2012 in Long Beach, Calif., where Audi is presenting a vision for the role transportation will play in the world’s increasingly congested urban centers of the future.
The A3 e-tron pilot program marks the first step by Audi into the expanding U.S. electric vehicle landscape, which is a central component of the discussion expected at the Audi Social Space at TED2012.
At TED2012, Audi intends to spark a progressive dialogue about the role transportation will play in the global megacities of the future. The Audi Social Space will present a variety of perspectives on this topic on touch-screen video installations allowing attendees to pose new mobility scenarios for future urban spaces and contribute in real time to Audi’s live Twitter feed through the #AudiTED hashtag.
Elements of Audi balanced mobility initiatives will provide a backdrop for the interactive Social Space and spark conversation on future urban mobility and how to achieve CO2 neutrality across the mobility chain. Initiatives include: the lightweight A2 concept EV that features technology built specifically for the megacity of the future, like traffic-friendly piloted drive technologies for stop-and-go congestion; the Audi e- gas project, which utilizes offshore wind turbines to generate clean power for the production of electricity, hydrogen and methane; and futuristic cityscapes designed by partner architects of the Audi Urban Future Initiative.
Audi A3 e-tron, a global debut
Adding a new electric dimension to driving performance, the Audi A3 e-tron pilot program will allow Audi to identify challenges and opportunities with plug-in vehicles as progressive luxury car buyers become increasingly receptive to EV technology. By studying e-tron use across multiple geographical regions, Audi will monitor the effect of climate conditions, driving patterns and energy performance and use insight gained in the final development of future EV technology applications.
The A3 e-tron pilot program will take place in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver markets.
“As part of the long-range Audi corporate goal of moving toward CO2-neutral mobility, there will be e-tron plug-in vehicle products exhibiting all of the performance and design attributes Audi drivers have come to expect,” said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America. “Audi is committed to refining Audi e-tron technology and we expect our plug-in vehicles to become a significant choice for our buyers within a growing line of advanced, efficient Audi powertrains over the coming years.”
With the A3 e-tron pilot program Audi engineers and technical experts will explore EVs in a real world setting and monitor in real-time how e- tron technology operates in everyday scenarios. The pilot will run throughout the year and provide actionable feedback and telematics data to Audi engineering teams in the U.S. and Germany. This approach follows the Audi philosophy of engineering innovation by introducing fully developed alternative technology to ensure no compromises are needed by Audi owners.
“The A3 e-tron pilot program serves as an important innovation platform for Audi to develop greater insight into electric vehicles and how American driving conditions affect use of the progressive technology in everyday life,” said Jeff Curry, e-mobility and sustainability strategy lead at Audi of America. “We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers.”
The e-tron name indicates that an advanced electrified power train with a plug-in capability is onboard. As a core philosophy of e-tron, Audi engineers are researching e-tron power concepts tailored to different vehicle types and driving needs including full battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and extended range electric (EREV) versions. The goal is to have the right product for the market at the right time – the best solution for the individual requirements of Audi customers. Audi e-tron becomes the latest entry to Audi’s stable of ingredient technologies, including Audi ultra lightweight construction, Audi TDI® clean diesel, Audi connectTM navigation and infotainment and Audi’s signature quattro® all-wheel drive.
Based on the award-winning Audi A3, currently sold to U.S. consumers in gasoline-powered and clean diesel TDI configurations, the Audi A3 e-tron features a fully electric powertrain with a 26kw lithium-ion battery, and zero driving emissions. Providing a sporty driving dynamic, Audi A3 e-tron has 199 lb-ft torque, a battery range of approximately 90 miles and a top speed of 90 mph all while retaining the full interior space and versatility of the A3.
Audi also is working on standardizing peripheral technologies that have to be taken into consideration for wide spread EV adoption and use, including driving the establishment in 2011 of common global standards for charging. As part of the pilot program, Audi will develop its network of infrastructure partners, test advanced services and create partnerships that will be central to providing the premium Audi experience for e-tron buyers.