Audi Planning Full Range of Plug-In Hybrids

BMW may have gotten a head start in the luxury plug-in market with the launch of its advanced i3 battery-powered hatchback this year, but its rivals aren’t too far behind. Mercedes-Benz is planning an electric version of the new B-Class, and now Audi is preparing for its assault on this bourgeoning vehicle segment.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron 1 photo
Photo: Audi
A report from Automotive News indicates that Audi will be following the upcoming launch of the all-new A3 Sportback e-tron with at least three other plug-in hybrid vehicles. The report quotes Audi CEO Rupert Stadler as saying, “We strongly believe in plug-in hybrids and we will add a new model each year, beginning with the Q7 next year, followed by the A6 long-wheelbase sedan for China and the A8.”

It’s not clear if the U.S. will get the plug-in Q7 or A8, but the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron will go on sale here during the middle of next year. Sales of the A3 Sportback e-tron commence in Europe this month, while buyers in China will have to wait until early 2015. Unlike the BMW i3 and Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, Audi made the A3 Sportback e-tron a plug-in hybrid because they offer a longer driving range and "plug-in hybrids are electric vehicles for everyday driving," according to Stadler.

Being a plug-in hybrid, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron can deliver an all-electric driving range of close to 30 miles at speeds of up to 81 mph, and after that, the gasoline engine kicks in to help provide an addition range of 370 miles. For comparison, the BMW i3 has an all-electric range of 70 to 110 miles, while the range-extended can increase the range to 185 miles.

Pricing for the A3 Sportback e-tron has not been announced for U.S. buyers, but European pricing has been set at 37,900 euros ($51,574 USD); the standard BMW i3 starts at $41,350, while the range-extended model starts at $45,200.
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