2012 Audi A3 e-tron Review

Audi e-tron family is a series of hybrid and electric concept vehicles showcased from 2009 onwards by Audi. It has been speculated that 2nd e-tron concept vehicle displayed in Detroit in 2010 offers a preview of next generation mid engined Audi sportscar production model to be introduced this year, possibly to be called Audi R5 and Audi R4 that might be offered in both internal combustion engine and electric powered versions. The Audi A3 e-tron is all-electric vehicle version of Audi A3 production model.

Motivation for the Audi A3 e-tron comes from an electric generator that sends power from the mid and rear mounted battery packs to front wheels. The lithium ion 26.5 kWh battery pack offers a range of around 90 miles. This year, the automaker announced a plan for deploying of a fleet of all electric A3 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Denver to conduct pilot program in United States; field testing is scheduled to start by late 2012. Its e-tron technology platform is a versatile for everyday commuting and provides a glimpse at possible production solutions. It features a purely electric drive system, while a lithium ion liquid cooled battery and the powerful electric generator make sure an impressive range and agile performance.

2012 Audi A3 e-tron Review
2012 Audi A3 e-tron Review

The 2012 Audi A3 e-tron technology platform is propelled by an everlasting magnet synchronous generator spinning at up to 16,000 rpm. Weighing 143 pounds, its electric water cooled generator delivers 82 horsepower with 199.14 pound feet of torque with power delivered to front wheels through a single speed gearbox. Energy storage is offered by a lithium ion battery that’s situated in multiple blocks beneath luggage compartment floor, in center tunnel and beneath the backseat.

By splitting the lithium ion battery this way, the cargo floor is just 3cms higher as compared to the production model, the A3 Sportback Quattro. Its 380V battery module weighs just 300kgs and stores 26.5 kWh of energy. Water flows around 30 modules consisting of the battery, while the complex cooling system keeps the battery within suitable temperature range of about 68 to 131°F. Both of these factors enhance performance. At low temperatures, extra heat is offered by the electric heating element linked to high voltage electrical system.

As with a heating element, the energy needed by air conditioner reduces its range. Audi5 is thus working hard for designing and developing a solution for cooling and heating the cockpit. At present, the focus is on the ethanol powered, CO2 neutral supplemental heater, a heat pump and a small fuel cell. The power electronics situated in immediate vicinity of electric generator in powertrain compartment convert direct current of battery into discontinuous current. Electric motor can also be controlled by power electronics that responds more sensitively and much faster as compared to an internal combustion engine. The DC converter combines 12V electrical system to a high voltage system.

The Audi A3 e-tron technology offers a range of approximately 140kms on a completely charged battery that in most situations is more than enough for meeting everyday requirements in urban metropolitan regions. This compact car is electric powered and generates zero local emissions, accelerating from 0 to 60 miles per hour in the time range of 11.2 seconds with the top speed of 90.10 mph. The Audi A3 e-tron’s driver can also use driver profile button for selecting between 3 modes. The current mode – auto, efficiency or dynamic – is shown in a display of driver information system.

In dynamic mode, the electric generator provides its full power, whereas the air conditioning can be operated on full in this mode. In auto mode, both systems are throttled back somewhat for extending the range, while in efficiency mode that’s designed and engineered for maximum range, the electric generator’s output is limited to 68 horsepower.

The 2012 Audi A3 e-tron offers comfortable seating for up to 5 passengers and weighs 3510 pounds, slightly more as compared to the A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI Quattro with 170 horsepower. The electromechanical power steering is a feature characteristic of the complete A3 model lineup, offering excellent road feel. The 4-link highly developed rear suspension fuses a comfortable ride with sporty precision. Likewise to Audi Q5 hybrid, it comes standard with power meter, which points to the amount of power at present being delivered by electric drive.

The technological solutions of 2012 Audi A3 e-tron have good predictions of being used in next generation production vehicles. The technology study with Glacier White paint finish boasts understated appearance, thanks to the interior borrowed from production vehicles and its 18-inch wheels. Special features include a heated windshield and seats covered in Alcantara and leather.


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