Audi today kicked off the A3 e-tron electric vehicle pilot program in the U.S. with the goal of defining the requirements of premium car buyers. Audi made the announcement today at TED2012 in Long Beach, California.
The A3 e-tron pilot program will take place in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver markets.
The program marks the first step by Audi into the expanding U.S. electric vehicle landscape. Audi wants to create a dialogue about the role transportation will play in the global megacities of the future. The Audi Social Space at TED2012 will present a variety of perspectives on this topic on touch-screen video installations allowing attendees to pose new mobility scenarios for future urban spaces and contribute in real time to Audi’s live Twitter feed.
Elements of Audi balanced mobility initiatives will provide a backdrop for the interactive Social Space and spark conversation on future urban mobility and how to achieve CO2 neutrality across the mobility chain. Initiatives include: the lightweight A2 concept EV that features technology built specifically for the megacity of the future, like traffic-friendly piloted drive technologies for stop-and-go congestion; the Audi e-gas project, which utilizes offshore wind turbines to generate clean power for the production of electricity, hydrogen and methane; and futuristic cityscapes designed by partner architects of the Audi Urban Future Initiative.
“As part of the long-range Audi corporate goal of moving toward CO2-neutral mobility, there will be e-tron plug-in vehicle products exhibiting all of the performance and design attributes Audi drivers have come to expect,” said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America. “Audi is committed to refining Audi e-tron technology and we expect our plug-in vehicles to become a significant choice for our buyers within a growing line of advanced, efficient Audi powertrains over the coming years.”
Audi’s A3 e-tron pilot program will help the automaker identify challenges and opportunities as premium car buyers become attracted to EV technology. Audi will study the effects of climate, driving habits and performance in several geographic regions throughout the year-long program.
“The A3 e-tron pilot program serves as an important innovation platform for Audi to develop greater insight into electric vehicles and how American driving conditions affect use of the progressive technology in everyday life,” said Jeff Curry, e-mobility and sustainability strategy lead at Audi of America. “We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers.”
Audi engineers are researching multiple technologies to meet different driving needs including full battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and extended range electric (EREV) versions. The company plans to have the optimum solution, or solutions, for its customers.
Based on the standard Audi A3, the A3 e-tron features a fully electric powertrain with a 26kw lithium-ion battery. The car has 199 lb-ft torque, a battery range of approximately 90 miles and a top speed of 90 mph.