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by Daniel DeGasperi

Audi Australia is planning to introduce its first plug-in hybrid model, the Audi A3 e-tron, to the local market late next year.

While currently “not confirmed 100 per cent yet”, Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said the company is aiming to have the A3 e-tron on sale here by the end of 2014.

Asked whether Audi wants to beat BMW and Mercedes-Benz to market with a petrol-electric plug-in model, the MD stated that “it’s a question of technology leadership or time…

“For us it’s more important to get the time right.”

Audi A3 e-tron profile

More specifically, he all but confirmed that “at this stage … it’s late 2014” and that it would be “around the A3 model range”.

The Audi A3 e-tron is expected to go into production in 2014 using a modified 1.4-litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. It operates in tandem with an electric motor generating 75kW and 330Nm, which is housed within the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The motor is fed by an 8kWh battery pack, which can be fully charged in 2.5 hours to provide up to 50km driving range in EV-only mode.

The A3 e-tron can also accelerate to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds, and up to 130km/h purely using electricity, while its overall fuel consumption rating is just 1.5L/100km and emissions output 35 grams per kilometre of Co2.

Audi-A3-e-tron-Concept

Doyle mentioned in a press briefing that Audi’s overhauled service centre in Sydney – to cost $6 million – would incorporate two dedicated electric vehicle recharging stations.

“For now it’s just part of the overall build structure,” said Doyle about the reason the EV charging stations were going to be built in an Audi facility, despite no plug-in Audis being available in this market.

“There are dedicated [electric vehicle recharging] bays, or two bays for such technology [but] it’s more a step process at this stage.”

Audi R8 e-tron - Nurburgring Time 3

Meanwhile the all-electric Audi R8 e-tron project is definitely back on the production agenda, after delays threatened the project’s viability.

“It’s on but it’s not confirmed as the to the next steps,” said Doyle.

Audi originally slated a production date for its all-electric supercar for mid next year, but Doyle confirmed that the project has been delayed.

Audi R8 e-tron - Nurburgring Time 4

“It is pushed back, but I can’t tell you when [it’s due],” he added.

“I’m not sure the exact date, or where it’s at [but] I would suggest it would only be left hand drive.”

As recently as last week, the Audi R8 e-tron was caught during cold weather testing.




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