On Wednesday, at the opening of the 2013 New York Auto Show, Audi announced that its A3 e-tron Sportback plug-in hybrid will be US bound in 2014. Nearly concurrent with that announcement, Audi revealed that one of its other plug-in hybrids, the A1 e-tron, was ready to participate in more real-world trials.
Audi A1 e-tron Cutaway
Were the back-to-back announcements just a coincidence? Or is Audi hinting that the A1 e-tron will enter production and perhaps head to the US, too?
Currently, the A1 e-tron is considered a prototype, but the jump from prototype to production would seem to be just a few phone calls and heated conversations away. There's nothing prototypical in the A1 e-tron, as the A1 is a production vehicle, though not in plug-in form, and its powertrain is nothing too out of the ordinary for Audi.
The A1 e-tron was introduced to the world at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. It features an an electric motor with a peak output of 101 hp, a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 254-cc Wankel engine for range-extending duties.
Electric-only range is listed at up to 31 miles (NEDC). The Wankel generator is claimed to provide up to 124 miles (NEDC) of additional range.
Audi lists its 0 to 62 mph time at 10.2 seconds and its top speed at 80 mph.
Field testing of the A1 e-tron began in Munich back in 2010 and will expand this year with Audi testing the vehicle in the German regions of Bavaria/Saxony, Berlin-Brandenburg and Baden-Württemberg,
For the record, Audi says the A1 e-tron has never been scheduled for production, but if that's the case, then why expand upon its already lengthy round of field testing?
As we see it, the A1 e-tron—perhaps with the unusual Wankel engine substituted out in favor of a more traditional range extender—is just as ready for the public as the A3 e-tron, so don't be surprised if this pint-sized plug-in Audi gets the green light soon, too. But we don't expect it to ever be available upon these shores.