Audi Quietly Begins Testing Its e-tron A3
Audi had a change of heart after bashing the feasibility of electric powered battery cars in 2008. After seeing it was one of the last few not to embrace the electric drivetrain the company stunned us a year later with an amazing e-tron prototype. Three to 4 years later, the A3 e-tron testing is finally underway.
AUDI’s A3 e-tron. The Audi A3 e-tron is mostly a test bed to gauge the performance level in real life usage. The company is testing the viability of the e-tron platform underpinning in an A3 for before it decides to eventually mass produce it.
Technically Speaking. The electric A3 e-tron sports a 99 kW, 134 horsepower electric motor that pushes 199 lb-ft of torque delivered to the front wheels. The motor is powered by two lithium-ion battery pack that release about 26.5 kWh. The top speed is around 90 mph. The battery range is estimated at around 90 miles in optimal conditions but Audi feels we can get 102 miles per gallon equivalent, or the so-called eMPG.
Interior & Living Space. The interior has been optimized, as with most electric cars these days in order to keep its cargo and living space intact. The battery packs are nestled in the obvious spots, one mounted in the center tunnel, the other below the floor of the trunk space. This A3 is very much like the normal, gasoline powered version in terms of space.
Simple Instrumentation. The Audi continues the trend away from flashy and fun instrumentations to more conventional ones. The A3 e-tron instruments are simple, replacing the tachometer with a battery level gauge, informing you how much electricity is left in the battery pack. The A3 will show you real-time information on the range and battery life.
What is interesting is that Audi is the first to use paddles on the steering wheel to choose between four different brake regeneration driving modes. This is an interesting use of what once served to shift gears up and down, now relegated to different regenerative braking modes. The all-electric A3 also sports three driving modes, efficient, normal to sporty.
What’s Next? And to this question, we’ll let you down a bit, you won’t get your hands on this electric A3 any time soon. The pilot program is reserved to Audi employee only, according to the company in order to avoid using its clients as guinea pigs. Still, Audi hinted at a very, very limited production of the “other” e-tron that will be “very, very fast”.
All in all, we can only welcome Audi’s effort in the pure electric operated battery vehicle field. The A3 might only be a test bed but it shows the company is at least willing to work on an every day electric car for Audi fans.