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Audi showcases A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid at Geneva; 157 mpg US, 50 miles electric range

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A3 Sportback e-tron drivetrain - hybrid components. Click to enlarge.

Audi is providing more details on the coming A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. (Earlier post.) The A3 Sportback e-tron, with 150 kW (204 hp) of system power and 350 N·m (258 lb-ft) of system torque, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 222 km/h (138 mph). In electric mode, the A3 Sportback e-tron has a range of about 50 km (31 miles).

According to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid automobiles, the five-door model consumes on average just 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (157 mpg US), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 35 grams per km (56 g/mile). In purely electric mode, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron achieves a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) with a range of up to 50 km (31 miles).

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A3 Sportback e-tron. Click to enlarge.

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron uses a parallel hybrid design. The combustion engine is a modified 1.4 TFSI, which develops 110 kW (150 hp) and 250 N·m (184 lb-ft) of torque. The TFSI operates in tandem with an electric motor that generates 75 kW and 330 N·m (243 lb-ft) of power.

The disc-shaped electric motor is integrated into a newly designed six-speed e-S tronic, which transfers the power to the front wheels. The two powerplants complement each other. The electric motor develops peak torque from start to around 2,000 rpm, and the TFSI’s maximum pulling power is available in a range from1,750 to 4,000 rpm.

The 8.8 kWh Li-ion lithium-ion battery system is installed in a space-efficient, crash-protected location in the floor, beneath the rear bench seat. The pack comprises eight modules with a total of 96 cells. A liquid cooling system with its own low-temperature circuit keeps the battery in the optimum temperature range.

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A3 Sportback e-tron. Click to enlarge.

The power electronics are housed in the engine compartment of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. The compact unit, with integral DC-DC converter to supply the 12V electrical system shares the same cooling circuit as the battery and charging device.

The charging connection is located behind the four rings in the radiator grille; the charging socket, like the TFSI engine, sports an e-tron badge. The high-voltage battery can be fully charged in around two and a half hours with a 3.6 kW charger.

All relevant components within the high-voltage network of the A3 Sportback e-tron have no conductive connections to other parts of the vehicle. In the event of the belt tensioners or airbags being activated in an accident, the system is immediately disconnected from the power supply. The air conditioning compressor has a high-voltage electric drive; an electric auxiliary heater supports the heating function for the interior.

The vacuum brake servo has an additional supply connection served by an electric vacuum pump. The hybrid management is tuned responsively with the electric motor. Up to moderate braking forces the electric motor, now operating as an alternator, to supply most of the retardation and recover much of the energy expended so that it can be channeled back into the high-voltage battery. The wheel brakes only become active if the driver presses the pedal more forcefully.

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron can be driven with just the combustion engine, just the electric drive or in hybrid mode. The driver can choose to have both powerplants active at the same time (“boosting”). When the driver lets up on the accelerator, they both deactivate temporarily (“gliding”). In this way, engine braking torque is eliminated and efficiency increases.

Three driving programs are selected using the EV button and the e-tron’s selector lever. The EV characteristic map covers the electric mode; the D program makes the A3 Sportback e-tron run especially efficiently, and in the S plane it is notably sporty.

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Information display. Click to enlarge.

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron display concept supplies information on the drivetrain status. The powermeter in the instrument cluster replaces the conventional rev counter and shows overall system power. The instrument cluster also includes a charge status display for the battery. The driver information system’s color display and the MMI navigation monitor indicate the power flows in the drivetrain, the operating ranges and the consumption figures for electricity and gasoline.

Audi is planning a whole portfolio of new online services for its electrified vehicles under its Audi connect umbrella policy. These will enable the driver to activate and monitor a range of functions such as charging processes and pre-conditioning of the interior climate conveniently from a smart phone.

Comments

SJC

Audi will have a new A4 hybrid in 2014 as well. If looks like VW/Audi are the ones leading the way in Germany.

Davemart

So the battery is nearly half the size of that in the Volt.
The all-electric range is lower of course, as the 30 miles is on the more lenient European cycle, but they are working the battery harder probably with a more durable battery chemistry than the lithium manganese spinel in the Volt.

HarveyD

These BMWs will most probably match and/or be better than existing competing firms. The price tag may be higher?

Davemart

@Harvey:
BMWs?
Where did they come in?
These are Audis!

HealthyBreeze

Hmmm. My local Audi dealer doesn't even carry the A3 in California. The 2013 A3 has a curb weight of about 3,200 pounds and costs around $27K. I guess the eTron would be closer to $37K. Sigh. I'm nursing my old 4-cylinder Camry along until the right plug-in hybrid comes along. The Prius doesn't cost-justify the extra $7K plug-in premium. Sounds like the A3 won't either.

ToppaTom

Surging ahead of the affordable Prius due, in no small way, to "The charging connection located behind the four rings in the radiator grille; the charging socket, like the TFSI engine, sports an e-tron badge".

Davemart

@HealthyBreeze:
Golf and Passat plug ins are coming, the former in 2014.
No word on when it will hit the US.

Herm

Toyota is pricing the Prius Plug-in to move, after all the credits and tax rebates it comes in slightly below the regular Prius. Good luck finding one.

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