audi a1 e-tron

Audi's A1 e-tron electric cars are put to the test in Munich

Audi has just started testing of its prototype electric car, the A1 e-tron. This premium subcompact electric car achieves an estimated 148mpg.

The four-seat A1 e-tron was designed for daily driving in cities and metropolitan areas. It is not just an electric car; it also has an internal combustion engine (ICE). If the battery runs low on charge, the ICE recharges it as needed to boost the vehicle’s operating range to as much as 155 miles. Essentially the ICE is a range extender, much like the technology in a Chevy Volt. This compact electric car is a zero-emissions vehicle for the first 31 miles of a trip. The battery comprises a package of lithium-ion modules mounted in the floor assembly in front of the rear axle.

Twenty prototype A1 e-tron electric cars will be tested on the streets of Munich. This is part of a project initiated by several organizations which include Audi, the power company E.ON, the public utility Stadtwerke München (SWM), and the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

This test trial will allow each organization to make a determination as to how to integrate electric vehicles into everyday motoring life. E.ON and SWM are tasked with maintaining the charging infrastructure in the Munich metro area. A cool thing about the recharging stations, is that all offer power generated via renewable energy sources.

The German government is providing 10 million euros in the region for electric mobility projects and the A1 e-tron project is part of that. This project will address a number of issues, ranging from the power grid itself to data transfer between drivers, vehicles, and electric recharging stations. For example, the use of a smartphone as a driver’s main interface will be explored and tested.


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