Audi A3 e-tron offers electric mobility from $60k

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Audi has today launched its first plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV). The Audi A3 e-tron has set four tyres on Australian soil, after making its first appearance at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

Based on the Audi A3, the ultra frugal e-tron is powered by a 1.4 TFSI engine developing 110kW, paired with a 75kW electric motor to give a combined system output of 150kW and 350Nm. Driving through a newly developed six-speed S tronic with an integrated electric motor, the A3 e-tron accelerates to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 222 km/h. In purely electric mode, top speed is limited to 130 km/h.

The battery has a capacity of 8.8 kWh and can be fully charged in less than 2.5 hours. It gives a range of up to 50km in full electric mode. When longer distance is needed, the single charge and full tank of fuel are capable of offering a range of up to 940km. Audi claims averaged fuel consumption for the A3 e-tron is an ultra-economical 1.6L/100km.

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“Hamilton Island is an all-electric island, with only buggies used to transport guests. So we are delighted to use this synergy with our biggest sailing and customer event of the year to debut the A3 e-tron in Australia,” said Andrew Doyle, Managing Director of Audi Australia.

“The A3 e-tron is the first plug-in hybrid vehicle from Audi, and importantly, it gives our customers an innovative and extraordinarily efficient mobility solution, without compromising on any of the versatility that has made the new A3 Sportback such a success.

“You can commute each day in pure electric mode, up to 50km, and you only need to charge the battery overnight. If you want to drive a longer distance, then the combination of the electric motor and petrol engine together gives you the kind of range that people are accustomed to. It’s an easy concept for customers to understand, which is why we’ve already seen such strong interest,” said Mr Doyle.

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Like the standard A3, the electric variant can seat five people and accommodate 280 litres of luggage (or 1120 with the rear seats folded flat). Like all other models in the A3 range, the A3 e-tron has been awarded the maximum 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

The A3 e-tron will be positioned at the higher end within the A3 Sportback range, with indicative pricing of around $60,000 excluding on-roads. Standard specification will include 17-inch alloy wheels, MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch, Parking system plus with park assist and rear view camera, convenience key and dual-zone automatic climate controlled air conditioning.

In Australia, the A3 e-tron will be offered to customers with a standard home installation package that includes the fitting of a dedicated 240-volt, high-output 16-amp single-phase power outlet that allows the battery to be fully charged in under 2.5 hours. This work will be carried out by an Audi electrical partner, and in many cases, there will be no additional cost to the customer for this service, Audi claims.

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is planned for an Australian arrival in March 2015. It will be available to order in November, following a special customer test drive event, from 16 initial Audi e-tron dealers around Australia.

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