More than just a new model in the range, Audi’s A3 e-tron represents the start of a new chapter for the German brand as it moves to introduce a range of high-tech, low emissions models.
The e-tron badge will feature on a growing range of models that make use of a plug-in hybrid, or fully electric drivetrain.
Audi has modest sales expectations to begin with, banking on around ten cars per month initially.
“We believe around 10 per month is likely and we do expect that to grow as more e-tron models are launched.” Anna Burgdorf, Audi’s General Manager of Corporate Communications, said. “Certainly as more of this kind of technology becomes more prevalent with other carmakers, and ideally, supported by the Government.” “The launch of Q7 e-tron will drive up sales numbers for e-tron models and therefore will help increase awareness and numbers around the technology.”
The real growth for e-tron will come with the introduction of other models in the range. In 2016 Audi will launch an e-tron version of its Q7 SUV.
As detailed previously the Q7 e-tron pairs a 3.0 litre turbodiesel with a plug-in electric system to deliver fuel consumption as low as 1.7 l/100km. Staggeringly just 0.1 l/100km more than the compact A3 e-tron.
As part of a graduated roll out, only 16 Australian dealers will offer the A3 e-tron initially. Once Q7 e-tron joins the range that number is set to grow.
“There is an investment by dealers into infrastructure and training for staff and as more e-tron models are sold it becomes more viable for smaller dealers to also invest.” Ms. Burgdorf said.
Another e-tron model in the pipeline is the new generation R8 e-tron. A full electric vehicle able to bolt to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds thanks to a 340kW/920Nm drivetrain, while offering a 450km range.
Disappointingly for electric performance enthusiasts in Australia, Audi’s Managing Director, Andrew Doyle, confirmed that “at this stage there is no indication that a right hand drive model will be avaialble.”
Audi’s next e-tron reveal will come in the shape of its e-tron Quattro concept to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Scheduled for a 2018 production debut, the all electric e-tron Quattro will offer a range of over 500km.