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