Audi A3 Sportback e-tron – The Future On Four Wheels (Video)

3 years ago by Mark Kane 37

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi recently released a video “The future on four wheels” on the features in the A3 Sportback e-tron, which is the first plug-in hybrid from Audi that’s taking aim at the market in Europe and then in North America.

As this is a plug-in hybrid, the charging inlet couldn’t be placed out the back (without making extra hole), so it’s therefore located behind the front logo just like in the Nissan LEAF and Renault ZOE. The Premium EVSE from Bosch (standard equipment at no charge) can be spotted in this video too.

“Efficiency, driving enjoyment and everyday utility all in one: The plug-in-hybrid drives up to 50 km in the electric mode.”

And second video as a bonus (in German though):

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37 responses to "Audi A3 Sportback e-tron – The Future On Four Wheels (Video)"

  1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    Pretty cutting edge for 2004!

  2. Michael says:

    I am German, but I am not proud of this shi… the Chevy Volt from 2011 is better than an Audi e torn from 2014. When the 2015 Volt comes game over Audi…

    1. Mikael says:

      Nice. This is the start of a new era for EV’s, mainstream adoption.

      2015 will be a very interesting year for EV’s.

      1. Anon says:

        True, but they still have to get it right, i.e, long range no compromise BEVs…

        1. DaveMart says:

          Yep.

          You have the one, the only, solution and nothing else should be considered at any time, ever.

          In engineering there are usually several possible solutions optimising for different things.

          At the moment we have BEVs with a pretty decent range and an astronomical price, or BEVs with highly restricted range and more modest prices although they still need very large subsidies to compete.

          Alternatively we now have PHEVs which are also a bit pricey but use a much more modest battery pack and don’t have range issues.

          Now maybe you have perfect precognition of how the technologies will develop, but maybe you don’t and the most practical solution seems to be to build what we can and see how it pans out.

          Just assuming that batteries will drop so far and fast in cost and increase in capacity at a similar rate is an act of faith, not reason.

          1. pjwood says:

            It is a mistake to think of it as how “technologies” will develop, and not see that it is the will power to use technology that’s already here. Maybe you meant that.

            Replacing 60-95% of gasoline use is easy. You can only conclude it is not theirs, or numerous other PHEV makers, aim to offer this low-hanging fruit.

            1. DaveMart says:

              I meant exactly what I said.
              If you have a different take on it it is just that, your take, not mine.

              In any case we do not seem to be in substantial disagreement that rapid development of PHEVs is going to take place, as they offer all the convenience of conventional cars with the addition of much reduced petrol consumption.

              What we can build at the moment in BEVs have significant compromises either on price or range or recharge times.

              Maybe that will change, but that is what we have at the moment.

              1. pjwood says:

                Your point is well made, on PHEV vs. BEV. I was only trying to add that I do not believe it is technology that closes the gap between them, for those of us who prefer EREV.

                1. Mikael says:

                  There will of course be a market for EREV’s too which will bridge to pure BEV’s. But both a large battery and an ICE won’t be cheap anytime soon so we’ll just have to wait and see how large that market becomes and when.

                  So far there is just one model of EREV’s out there and so it’s not really possible for BMW to produce EREV’s to every car buyer out there.

                  The medium range PHEV’s of some of the worlds most popular car models will make much more difference during the next 10-15 years because of their mass market appeal.

        2. Mikael says:

          Well, sure. And they will probably put some BEV’s out there sooner or later too.

          But unfortunately there doesn’t exist such a thing as a long range non-compromise BEV yet and won’t exist for a long while.
          And it get’s even harder if you’re looking at trying to put out hundreds of thousends or millions or tens of millions at an affordable price.

          These medium range PHEV’s will be the main part of the solution for a very long time to come.

  3. Tesla Fan says:

    Yawn

  4. ggpa says:

    Charge port in the front – great choice!!

    Also, in the video it seems there are 2 buttons at the charge port, for “charge now” and “charge later”.

  5. Kristof says:

    When is the EU going to end those untrue “1.2 liter per 100 km”? Tru if you charge after every 100 km. but if you drive continues 300 km you will use like 15 liter, and the driver thinks he’s being good for the environment.

    Also a ban should be applied to all EU countries that give tax reductions on hybrids on the basis of those false numbers, just like in the Netherlands where they learned the hard way. Lots of hybrid drivers that never plug in, but only want the tax reduction because they drive “green” on 100% gasoline. Most of them don’t even pay for their gas because of company cars.

    1. DaveMart says:

      Most people are perfectly well able to work out that if the AER is only 22 miles, then if you drive a long distance you will use quite a lot of petrol.

      What on earth are you doing, driving massive distances each and every day?
      Because if you are not then your average petrol consumption will not be anything like the amount you use per mile on a long run, but will have the first 20 odd miles or over 7,000 miles a year petrol free.
      So if you drive an average distance of around 15,000 a year you will save around half the petrol you would otherwise use.

      What is untrue about claiming superior economy about that?

      Unless of course you expect any single metric to tell you all about performance in a single number, which is about as realistic as moaning because your acceleration figure 0-60 does not tell you what the cars top speed is.

  6. DaveMart says:

    I don’t understand the slating of this car.
    It is a nippy car which will seat 4-5 people and do around the first 7,000 miles or so without using petrol.

    Sure its not a Tesla, but it is half the price of the S and the Gen III is years away.

    1. Miggy says:

      Should read 50km not 7,000 miles

      1. DaveMart says:

        Clearly I was referring to per annum figures, and used a more conservative estimate of EV range than 50km per day of around 22 miles.

        1. pjwood says:

          I don’t want the wear, inefficiency, etc., of so much as one warm-up cycle of the ICE, on most days. You’re making it sound like the engine doesn’t come on until the second half of the year. In fact, it will be going on just about every trip. There is a long-run economic failure in this approach, that has nothing to do with fuel use.

          1. DaveMart says:

            You are making it sound as though everyone drives every day more than the AER of these NEDC specified 50km, around 22 miles in reality cars.

            Some do, some don’t.
            And of those who do increasing numbers will have the opportunity to recharge at work as time goes by.

            As far as I am aware present conventional cars have the wear of one start up cycle and heating the engine block and so on every time they are used, in many cases every day, at present, so PHEVs not needing that all of the time will reduce, not increase, the present amount of wear, perhaps for many to very low levels as most days the engine will not switch on at all.

            So I don’t really follow your logic at all.

            1. pjwood says:

              It isn’t good logic to favor a PHEV whose engine comes on almost every day, over one that can go weeks without it going on at all. There are also performance give-ups, in electric mode. If the i8 can’t even break 9.7 seconds, for 0-60, how much acceleration in one of these VWG’s before the engine is coming on? Will, of all people, VW, Audi and Porsche types who enjoy electric drive, want such low electric power? We are going to find out.

              Over 7,000 miles, at a per mile savings of six cents, these owners are justifying anything extra for a fuel savings of ~$420/yr.

              1. DaveMart says:

                There are any number of good reasons why VW and others chose that balance point for PHEV AER range.

                The pragmatic reason and why virtually every car company will come out with PHEVs at that AER range is that China and the EU have agreed it, and most other countries are likely to go along with that much weight behind it.

                If it were just the two of them though that is a couple of billion people.

                That AER range for cars was not chosen by Government arbitrarily though.
                It means that cars will have enough range in China and Europe to run pollution free in City centres, and avoid likely future complete bans as well as congestion charges, limited access on an alternate number plate basis and so on.

                They are all switchable so that those with a long commute can use petrol for the motorway part of their journey in the suburbs and switch to electric for strictly controlled city centres.

                Increasing battery density also means that AER can be gradually increased, perhaps as an option, up to around 35 miles AER without changing the weight or packaging.

                Here is VW’s route forward:
                http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/info_center/en/talks_and_presentations/2014/07/FM_04_07_14.bin.html/binarystorageitem/file/06_2014-07-04+Presentation+Barclays+London+Steiger+TOP+COPY.pdf

                See pg 17

                The main reason for the choice though is to save both the financial cost and the weight of lugging around batteries which are oversized for most people’s use.

                Where that point is is arguable, and as battery costs and weight decrease will change in favour of more AER, but the most marginal utility is from the smaller packs, as everyone is going to use the full range every day, or nearly, and that decreases as the battery pack size increase.

                There are lots of caveats in that, such as that a larger pack may have an easier life and so last longer, but the point remains that at any given level of cost and energy density, there is an optimum point, and that the biggest battery is not necessarily the best solution,

                So bigger may not always be better, at least for the moment, and at least when cost is taken into account.

                PHEVs will get more AER range, but in my view this is not a bad place to start.

                1. pjwood says:

                  Your comments seem to focus upon cost of goods sold, what is going into the car, and what are the geographical regulations driving the small battery. They miss what many consumers will want, and have talked themselves into believing your very points. Do you seriously believe page 17, that VW is suddenly focused on things like weight and tires, as a rational against more battery size? The exact same things apply even more so to gasoline, not because of its weight, but because it costs so much. The chart says VW thinks people will want to move less weight, at more operating cost. Is that the logic?

                  Memo to VWG – Electricity is a third the price of gas. Same goes for Germany.

                  Whether its is to save money on gas, or to enjoy electric drive, or to save long-term on wear cycles, we are going to find out what consumers think about VW. And they haven’t hedged their bets, at all, here have they? Batteries are simply too un-important to call upon the MQB platform to hide something substantial. The Pano S-E, or Cayenne PHEV buyer (not MQB) doesn’t seem to deserve an extra 10kwh, for his $75,000-95,000.

                  The statistical world PHEVs go into isn’t that complex. Trips to cities are quite commonly >10 miles, perhaps <30, each way. "Suburbs" in almost any large American city aren't much less than 10 miles out. If you want to sell a volume PHEV, and take care of daily miles, you have to hit that number in the cold. If you don't, or if you want that engine coming on for the consumer expecting at least 0-60 in 10 seconds, then by all means, do what VW is doing. Maybe those ICE service revenues will stick around (DPFs, HPFPs, you name it).

  7. alain says:

    It a start.not much , but a start.

  8. Joshua Burstyn says:

    I’m not sure to whom this vehicle caters. My wife and I were initially interested but not anymore. The stated range of “up to” 31 miles is silly.

    You see my wife drives 25km each way – not an unreasonable amount. We also live in Canada (Mississauga) where the weather can be reasonably cold in the winter. These factors combined mean she couldn’t even make it to/from work on her very reasonable commute without using the gas engine. What’s the point of the EV factor then? We could either buy a full BEV with a range of ~148km EPA (Kia Soul EV) or get a hybrid, both of which are at least an honest effort towards being greener.

    Audi, please increase the battery to be more like that found in the Volt. (If not larger.) A useful range of 40+ miles should be an absolute requirement to name your car e-anything!

    1. DaveMart says:

      I’m not sure how you connect a car being unsuitable to your particular use with its being silly.

      I don’t drive a minibbus, but I understand that some have use for them.

      Your assumptions on range seem erroneous also.

      If your wife commutes 25km that is only around 16 miles, and real world the car gets around 22 miles AER.

      Sure the range will be reduced when it is very cold, but in a PHEV unlike a BEV that is hardly a disaster, as the gas engine simply switches on.

      If you run out of battery in a BEV on the other hand in extreme cold then you may be in serious trouble.

      1. Joshua Burstyn says:

        Eh, ok.

        If a plugin electric hybrid cannot perform a basic commute in full EV mode, what’s the point of pushing it as a plugin?

        And the reason the car is silly is because frankly I’m not the only one who is of the mind that 22 miles on the best of days doesn’t work. Most buyers of a car with “e” in the name will assume such a vehicle can take them on local commutes sans-gasoline.

        1. DaveMart says:

          You seem to totally confound ‘your commute’ with ‘commuting’.

          If it doesn’t suit you, fine.

          They were specified in the first place primarily to meet Chinese and European regulations and commuting needs, and in both places for hundreds of millions of people will do it just fine, so developing them hardly seems ‘silly’.

          In any case VW for instance have laid out a clear path to gradually increasing the specific energy of the Panasonic batteries used by increasing the voltage, so that for the same size and weight of pack the AER, perhaps as an option, will eventually increase to around the ~40 miles of the present Volt.

          1. DaveMart says:

            Perhaps I should add that those for whom the current range of the PHEVs does not work, say people with a 40 mile commute a day will be speding a lot on petrol, and personally I would be pretty pleased that new technology is now available which would enable me to halve it instantly, and if I could wangle charging at work reduce it to zero.

            That does not appear to be your situation, as for the 25km commute specified the battery should do the job fine with the possible exception of a few of the very coldest days.

            So it sounds to me as though you have made up your mind that anything which is not specified exactly as you wish is ‘silly’ and are not prepared to make the minimal adaptions needed for this to work just fine for you and your family.

            That is fine, your decision, but it does not make the design of the car in any way flawed, let alone ‘silly’.

            1. Joshua Burstyn says:

              It is a brand new design built in a time when vehicles can travel 250+ miles on battery alone. Why should I be forced to “adapt” and burn any gas on a normal commute? (BMW seems to have gotten the idea with the i3. It is BEV for most drives with the REx for longer range.) The A3 is completely a car for people who want to drive in electric mode to and from work and then dri e to the cottage on the weekend in traditional hybrid mode. But this car can barely do the former. So again, why bother prefixing the car with “e”?

              1. DaveMart says:

                So buy a BEV.

                You obviously had no intention of liking a PHEV whatever its AER, so your strictures about the particulars of the A3 and going on about the thrilling details of your particular commute and how all cars should be purpose designed to cater to it and not the billion or so it is actually designed for are disingenuous.

    2. Mikael says:

      It seems like you’re not the only one who doesn’t understand the greatness of this vehicle.

      This car doesn’t cater to EV fanatics or people who are pioneers and a very limited band in the spectrum of car owners and drivers.

      This is a car for people or companies that are looking for an Audi A3 (or a similar car) where you can get it partly electric for an added cost as an option.
      It’s a mass market car which will put people from the broad part of the spectrum into EV’s .

      And with the comments in here it sometimes seems like people don’t understand that electric cars still is an extremely rare phenomenon which most people in the world have never even seen and that 1% of sales is something often considered a good month, and even that in just a handful of countries.

      1. Joshua Burstyn says:

        But the A3 e-tron could easily have been so much more. Look at what Nissan, Chevrolet and Tesla have accomplished. Then compare those same brands’ e-fleet to the “up to” 31 miles of an A3 using a newer design than any of the former have in the market. Not very impressive.

        This is also insideevs.com. Perhaps the site you are looking for is “Inside Extremely Limited EV Range Plugin Hybrids”. EVs are kind of a thing on this site.

        1. DaveMart says:

          VW have this strange thing about making money on the cars they build, which is why they are the most profitable car company in the world.

          Nissan is going to start building PHEVs too, GM say that they look on the Volt as not for the mass market and Tesla have not as yet proven that they can produce anything other than $100,000 luxury cars.

          No doubt it is disappointing that from the use you specified the A3 would only reduce your petrol consumption by something in excess of 90% and that means that the VW group have no idea about building cars.

          Perhaps it is some consolation that as batteries improve they have laid out a clear path to increase the battery pack to give around the same AER as the present Volt.

          Alternatively they are also building the E-Golf with similar range to the Leaf, which will be on sale in the US this year.

        2. Mikael says:

          Extremely limited? It has more than enough range to cut most if not all miles commuting for most people.
          If you want to talk about extremely limited then you should talk about the 0,09% of cars sold in the world last year that actually were all electric.

          It doesn’t matter if a hundred or a thousand or ten thousand or a hundred thousand buy BEV’s when there are 100 million cars sold every year and more than 2 billion cars on the road already.

          What really counts is to get EV’s of all kinds out on the roads in masses. And when one of the worlds largest manufacturers (soon the largest manufacturer) puts out PHEV’s of their top selling models and put them in the front window as the top version of that model yet with only a reasonable price increase then the EV’s have a chance to reach the masses.

          If you only want EV’s for a small selected group of exclusive persons then I’m sorry to disappoint you that it’s on it’s way to go mainstream.

  9. Surya says:

    The second video shows you can also get a view of the ‘energy flow’. I don’t get this thing. Most EVs have this. It visualizes that when you drive, energy goes from your battery to your wheels. Duh. Why do we need to visualize that? Does anyone ever use that?

  10. arne-nl says:

    “so it’s therefore located behind the front logo just like in the Nissan LEAF and Renault ZOE.”

    Well done! The best location imo. (I’m a Zoe driver).