Audi Insists A3 E-Tron Is Not For California Compliance

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 17

Audi A3 e-tron

Audi A3 e-tron

Audi A3 E-Tron

Audi A3 E-Tron

It’s long been argued that German automaker Audi has no real interest in selling plug-in vehicles outside of doing so for compliance (CAFE, CARB and EU mandates).

Audi argues that’s not really the case.  Quoting Audi of America President Scott Keogh:

“Obviously, we have challenging targets for CAFE and ZEV-mandate states.  (But) we’d like to have a business case that makes sense for us and our dealers.”

“We’re not in the business of making a loss vehicle, or a compliance car.  We believe in a car the customer wants to pay for and we have a business case for.”

To us, Koegh’s statements imply the following:

We know we must make plug-in vehicles to satisfy various requirements.  Since you must make them, we’re going to do our best to make compelling vehicles that we can profit off of.

No automaker wants to lose money on a vehicle, right?  Now, Koegh isn’t admitting that Audi, by choice, will enter the plug-in segment.  But rather, Audi is being forced to enter and will therefore make the most compelling vehicle in the segment in hopes that sales are high and profits are made.  And since Audi must enter the PEV segment, it’s going to do so with authority.

Koegh, in speaking of the upcoming A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid (which won’t fully satisfy CARB minimum pure EV standards – only offerings like the e-Golf will) states:

“In our point of view, this is the right solution for the marketplace.”

“If someone is going to make this profound leap into the electric world, this is a perfect bridge-product that basically says you get all of the comfort, range – all the things you expect from a normal car, except you get the added benefit of the electric range from the plug-in.”

“It’s packaged like an Audi; it drives like an Audi; it has the characteristics of an Audi. We feel that’s the solution.”

“This (vehicle) will be marketed; it will be promoted. The government doesn’t give you credit if (the car) sits on the showroom floor.”

Back to the topic of compliance, Koegh adds:

“Obviously we have challenging targets for CAFE and…ZEV-mandate states, but the customer does not walk into a dealership and say, ‛Oh, that poor company. They have to hit these CAFE targets. I feel really bad for them, I think I’ll go buy this car to help them out.  That’s not how it works.”

“We need to come up with a product that the consumer desires (and) the consumer wants to pay money for.”

“If the car does not get sold, if the car does not get on the road, you don’t have a compliance car; you have a headache on your hands. What we want to get (with the A3 e-tron) is the mainstream (customer).”

Audi A3 e-tron Live in Detroit

Audi A3 e-tron Live in Detroit

Koegh is certainly quite the talker.  Audi is one of the few holdouts left in regards to making available a mass-produced plug-in vehicle.  That should change in 2015 when the A3 e-tron is launched in the US.

As for pricing for the US A3 e-tron, we’ve got two tidbits of info to go on.

Specs for the A3 e-tron, at least those we know, break out like this:

  • The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron accelerates to a speed of 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 7.6 seconds
  • It has a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph).
  • Its average fuel consumption is just 1.5 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers (156.81 US mpg)
  • It offers a 50 kilometers (31.07 miles) driving range in electric mode
  • total driving range is 940 kilometers (584.09 miles).
  • The battery of the A3 Sportback e-tron has an energy capacity of 8.8 kWh and can be charged in less than 2.5 hours using a 16 A electrical outlet.
  • The five-door, five-seat vehicle has weight of  1,580 kilograms (3,483.30 lb)

Source: Ward’s Auto

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17 responses to "Audi Insists A3 E-Tron Is Not For California Compliance"

  1. kdawg says:

    “it drives like an Audi…We feel that’s the solution”
    ———-
    No, no, no. They still don’t get it. EV-driving is SUPERIOR to ICE-driving. It should drive like an EV. Audi, get your head out of your gear-hole.

    1. offib says:

      I’d give you a +1 for that.

      I think it’s drive quality more than how it behaves. VWs are largely respected in Ireland at least for exceptional or benchmark road holding, comfort quality and sound deadening quality (despite all the TDIs sounding like pipeless tractors outside). Audis are just a step above that, just like how Skoda is a step below VW.

      If anything, I seriosuly doubt the e-tron would even be similar in overall quality compared to its TDI variants. It should exceed such quality benchmarks without a doubt as most plug-ins do. The only problem, the contrast between a full and low charge. That inline 1.4l 4 is said to be noisy and buzzy, that’s certinally a problem the Fisker and ELR had.

  2. Acevolt says:

    When I convert Euro’s to US Dollars, I get $49,500. Subtracting 19% VAT of $9406 give an approximate US Retail price of $40K.

    1. Mikael says:

      Generally you can just take the number in euros and put a dollar sign on it, and vice versa.

      €37k in Europe is often $37k in the US.

    2. offib says:

      Great, another German plug-in that sits on the $40k bench.

  3. leafer says:

    If he wants it to drive like an Audi they should have put a motor n the rear and made it the A3 E-tron Quattro

    should have been an easy decision.

    stay true to your brand
    how many Audi’s are sold in FWD.?
    betting most are AWD

    1. Mikael says:

      About 40% of all Audis sold are AWD. And the upper end models and SUVs have the highest percentage. So for A3/Q3 it’s probably somewhere between 20-30% AWD.

  4. Big Solar says:

    I hope Audi can make the electric drivetrain work better than their electric running lights.

  5. TomArt says:

    I thought that the recent press releases stated that the A3 e-tron was going on sale in all 50 states? If that is the case, then where are the “compliance car” allegations coming from?

    1. pjwood says:

      “Compliance” to profit, more than genuine customer satisfaction. An engine with a little battery sauce keeps that end of the business, its margins etc, better than what we are beginning to call “advanced PHEV”, or more substantial battery, plus smaller 3cyl, etc.

      The VW’s aren’t much smaller, in battery than the Outlander’s 12kwh. So, I guess the criticism could be limited, there.
      However, not in my mind for BMW, Audi or Porsche. More ~20kwh EREVs should have had delivery dates, by now. Profit motive, bargaining power of suppliers, and all that Michael Porter MBA stuff, at work.

  6. Since Audi is not encumbered by CARB-ZEV mandates, that will be easy to comply, eh?

    They are encumbered by CARB for hydrids, so this car will fill that void.

    No matter what Audi claims.

  7. evnow says:

    Another challenger to Volt ? Volt is being nipped at from all directions – from i3 REx to Energi to e-Tron.

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      That proves that the EREV/PHEV concept the Volt originated is the right choice for now (until batteries improve over the next 10-15 years). Volt 2.0 will fix the current issues.

      1. evnow says:

        No – it just says OEMs find it easy to replicate what GM did compared to what Nissan & Tesla did.

        1. GSP says:

          Well, the other automakers have used the same PHEV formula as the Volt, but none have matched or exceeded the Volt’s spec yet. Most have less EV range and EV power. The i3 is the exception, but is crippled by a 1.8 gallon gas tank and insufficient ICE power for the mountains.

          GSP

  8. Nix says:

    If they were designing it exclusively to match up with US laws, they would have put a 16 kWh battery in it so that it would get the full $7,500 dollar US federal tax incentive.

    Actually, I wish they would have designed it MORE for the US market, and put a bigger battery in it…