The dual-fuel Audi A3 Sportback g-tron can be powered by unleaded petrol as well as a new CO2
-neutral fuel called Audi e-gas that will be produced in a German-based power-to-gas plant.
The carbon-neutral compressed natural gas (CNG) is stored in two tanks under the floor of the Audi A3 Sportback’s luggage compartment, with each able to hold seven kilograms of CNG at 200 bar pressure. Once the gas fuel source is depleted to a point where the pressure in the tank drops below ten bar, the engine management system automatically switches over to run the car with conventional petrol.
Employing a new engine based on Audi’s 1.4-litre TFSI unit, changes to the cylinder head, turbocharger, injection system and catalytic converter combine to produce 81kW and 200Nm, enough go to give the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron a top speed of 190km/h and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 11.0 seconds.
In gas mode, the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron uses less than 3.5 kilograms of CNG or Audi e-gas per 100km and CO2
emissions of less than 95 grams per kilometre. Audi says the car is able to produce the same performance in either CNG or petrol mode.
According to the German manufacturer, the g-tron will have a range of around 400km running on CNG alone, with petrol providing another 900km. Two displays in the instrument cluster provide drivers with fuel level indicators for each of the individual tanks while the car’s two filler necks are placed side-by-side under the one fuel flap.
Audi says after refuelling and in colder temperatures the g-tron engine will initially start-up using petrol before automatically switching over to natural gas as quickly as possible.
The synthetic Audi e-gas – made when hydrogen is reacted with CO2
in a methanation plant – is to be produced in the world’s first industrial plant to make the synthetic methane, at Werlte in Germany, which is almost completed. Audi says e-gas produced at the plant which will power 1500 new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron vehicles a disctance of 15,000km every year.
In the coming years, the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron will be joined by the all-electric Audi A3 e-tron, adding to Audi’s existing line-up of petrol- and diesel-powered A3 models.