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Audi Shows Off a New EV

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author photo by Autotrader April 2011

These days, it seems like every automaker is throwing its hat into the electric car ring. The latest manufacturer to join the party is Audi, whose aggressively-styled e-tron concept foreshadowed its latest development: an all-electric A3.

The fully electric A3, dubbed the A3 e-tron, debuted in a press release on Monday, with the real thing expected to follow at an auto show later this year. And while there’s no on-sale date – Audi says it’s just a prototype, for now – the hatchback seems nearly production-ready, with all of the complicated engineering details already ironed out.

So how does it stack up? The German automaker says the A3 e-tron is good for about 134 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, propelling it from zero to sixty in a leisurely 11.2 seconds. That’s uncharacteristic for an Audi, not an electric vehicle, mind you, as the fully-electric Nissan Leaf takes just over 10 seconds to do the same sprint.

Of course, the real EV performance yardstick isn’t horsepower or acceleration, but range. Audi reports that the A3 e-tron is capable of getting 87 miles out of a single charge, which takes about four hours with a 400-volt “rapid charger” or up to nine hours when plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet. By comparison, the Leaf’s rapid charger can fully replenish its batteries in less than an hour, though recharging through a standard outlet takes much longer.

While an all-electric A3 would be Audi’s first foray into the EV game, the automaker isn’t a complete stranger to the technology. Shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, the e-tron concept attempted to mix performance with sustainability, producing 308 horsepower and running from zero to 60mph in less than 5 seconds. Audi said it was also capable of running more than 150 miles on a single charge.

The automaker also recently showed off an electric concept version of its Europe-only A1. Dubbed the A1 e-tron, the small hatchback used both gasoline and electric power to achieve a range of nearly 160 miles.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Audi Shows Off a New EV - Autotrader