Category Archives: A3 Sportback e-tron

News and reviews of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid electric car.

2017 set to be landmark year for electric cars

The future is bright for electric cars in 2017, as new figures released recently indicate that more than 100,000 plug-in cars could be on UK roads by the middle of this year.

This prediction is fuelled by record numbers of electric car registrations in 2016, with volumes rising 29% on the previous 12 months. In fact, every quarter of 2016 produced year-on-year growth, with the total number of EVs on UK roads now at more than 87,000.

More and more UK drivers are becoming switched on to the cost-saving benefits and convenience of electric motoring, which resulted in 36,907 electric vehicles being registered between January and December last year, a number that’s set to grow this year.

The ever-increasing selection of electric cars available in the UK is another factor aiding the rise in the market. More than 35 plug-in models are available at the moment, which is four times the number on the market just five years ago.

Plug-in hybrids were particularly popular in 2016, as registrations rose by over 40%. Models such as the BMW 330e, Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron proved to be among the most in-demand.

Source: Go Ultra Low

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron on charge

Behind the wheel: 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid

Welcome to the future. Audi’s entry into the hybrid electric car world, the 2016 A3 Sportback e-tron, truly represents the future of personal automotive transporation.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron on charge
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron on charge

On one hand, it’s packed with the latest hybrid and electric vehicle technology, allowing you to approach 90 MPGe using the hybrid system. On the other hand, it’s a beautifully designed, well-built Audi that with 204 HP (using both the gasoline and electric motors) and Audi’s race-proven driving dynamics, creates a fun performance driving experience true to the Audi brand.

This PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) comes with both an electric and gasoline engine which can be used in tandem or individually. The system has four settings adapting to a range of driving conditions. EV Mode operates the car in an electric-only mode with the high-voltage battery system providing about 16 miles of range. In Hybrid Mode, the car automatically selects which engine should be used based on the driving conditions. The Hold Battery Mode operates the car in hybrid mode, but preserves the charge of the battery for later use. Charge Battery Mode uses just the gasoline engine to power the car and to charge the battery while driving. The settings are controlled by a switch and are switchable when the car is driving or parked.

The tech

Like all Audi models, the A3 e-tron is available with a wonderful suite of infotainment options, all controlled by the easy-to-use MMI touch system. Audi connect is a subscription-based service that features Google Earth, Google Voice Search, a proprietary traffic guidance system along with fuel prices, parking info, music streaming and internet radio. Other tech goodies include the use of Google Earth and 3D satellite technology. The car is a moving Wi-fi hotspot, offering full 4G LTE (powered by AT&T) for up to eight devices.

The A3 Sportback e-tron offers the full suite of Audi safety features like multiple airbags, along with some electronic collision countermeasures. There’s a wide-sweeping side assist system that detects and alerts the driver to other traffic next to them, as well as an optional active lane assist system. This reads the lines in the road and gently nudges the steering wheel when it senses the car is drifting over the lines on either side.

Read more: Examiner

A full charge point at Newport Pagnell services, and my first ever sight of an Audi A3 e-tron (Image: T. Larkum)

Queuing to Charge

On my long distance travels in the ZOE I’ve noticed that it’s becoming more common to have to queue at a charge point. We’ve not yet had a big problem with it – either we’ve had to wait no more than a few minutes, or else on the motorway we’ve just moved on to the charge point at the next services.

A full charge point at Newport Pagnell services, and my first ever sight of an Audi A3 e-tron (Image: T. Larkum)
A full charge point at Newport Pagnell services, and my first ever sight of an Audi A3 e-tron (Image: T. Larkum)

However, it is an occurrence that I expect to become more frequent over time. It will be interesting to see if Ecotricity’s policy, in particular, of gradually increasing the number of charge points at motorway services will keep the issue at bay.

 

Audi A3 e-tron, Mitsubishi Outlander and BMW i3 plug-ins

Audi A3 e-tron vs BMW i3 & Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Plug-in cars promise great efficiency, but is Audi’s new A3 e-tron hybrid a better bet than range-extending i3 and Outlander?

Eco-friendly plug-in models are slowly gaining in popularity, so it’s no real surprise that after decades of experimentation Audi has finally decided to jump on the petrol-electric bandwagon.

The new A3 e-tron is based on the classy A3 Sportback, and packages together a 1.4-litre petrol turbo and 75kW motor, while a compact lithium-ion battery pack sits under the back seat. Its raw statistics certainly look compelling, with a 31-mile claimed electric range, CO2 emissions of 37g/km and 176.6mpg economy.

Just as importantly, Audi says these figures don’t come at the expense of the standard Sportback’s space, refinement and upmarket appeal.

However, there are many different ways to package the perfect plug-in, as our other contenders here prove. Mitsubishi’s rugged Outlander PHEV claims to deliver all the practicality of the standard model, but – with a 30-mile electric range – city car-humbling costs.

Completing our trio is BMW’s daring i3 Range Extender, which sets the class standard for efficiency, design and driving dynamics.

Read more: AutoExpress

Audi A3 e-tron Sportback (Image: Audi)

Road Test: Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

THE 2014 World Car of the Year is adding zero emissions motoring to its repertoire with the arrival of the new A3 Sportback e-tron, the first plug-in hybrid to join the Audi range.

Priced from £29,950 (including government grant incentive), the spacious five-door compact hatchback combines a conventional 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine with an electric motor to deliver impressive performance, exceptional efficiency and, equally crucially, complete freedom from range limitation. The first e-trons will arrive with customers early this year.

At a glance, nothing about the A3 e-tron is new at all. But delve beneath that ubiquitous surface and you will find a very clever petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain that combines the cheap energy of plug-in tech and the ability to recharge on the move. The modified 1.4-litre TFSI unit, in this application featuring a peak power output of 150PS, is linked by a clutch to a 75kw electric motor, which is integrated into a specially developed six-speed S tronic transmission sending power to the front wheels. Combined, the two power units generate 204PS of system power, good for a 0-62mph sprint of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 137mph. So, it’s no slouch.

Equally importantly, according to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid cars, the A3 Sportback-based e-tron is capable of covering up to 176.6mpg with CO2 emissions of only 37g/km. With the combination of electric motor and combustion engine, an overall operating range of up to 584 miles is possible.

The Audi A3 e-tron can run exclusively on electric power for up to 31 miles at speeds of up to 81mph, or can be powered by petrol alone. Alternatively, the hybrid mode brings both units into play, and the driver can choose to run these simultaneously – a function known as ‘boosting’ – by initiating kickdown by the S tronic transmission. In this mode the full 350Nm torque output is deployed for the strongest possible acceleration, but when the driver stops accelerating both motors temporarily deactivate, eliminating motor braking torque and allowing the car to glide to conserve fuel and recuperate energy.

Up to medium loads the motor can also function as an alternator, making a significant contribution to retardation and recovering energy which is fed into the traction battery. In this mode the wheel brakes only become active if the driver applies moderate force to the pedal.

The driver has several ways of actively managing the vehicle’s response. Four key settings are available – the EV mode gives priority to electric drive, the hybrid auto mode is useful for long journeys as it engages the electric motor wherever possible, the hybrid hold mode preserves the electrical energy stored in the battery for later use and the hybrid charge mode uses the combustion engine as a generator to charge the battery.

Inside the four passenger doors interior space is good for five, and luggage capacity is the same as a Quattro four-wheel driven A3, which is to say 100 litres down on the basic A3 Sportback and technically only 29 litres more than a Volkswagen Up. It’s broad rather than deep, though, and turns out to be plenty practical enough.

Standard trimmings include LED headlights and daytime running lights, special ‘turbine design’ 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, light and rain sensors, MMI navigation plus with hard drive-based mapping and Audi connect online services bringing in-car internet access.

The A3 Sportback e-tron is supplied with two charging leads as standard. One is specifically designed for use at public charging points and the other for domestic use.

The charging lead supplies the car with alternating current from the grid via the charging connection, which is located in the single frame grille behind the fold-out four rings. As well as a status LED, the unit includes two pushbuttons allowing the user to choose between timer-controlled charging and immediate charging.

Using a domestic socket it takes four hours to fully charge the battery. When a wallbox is connected or a public charge point is used this reduces to two hours and fifteen minutes.

The e-tron excels in electric-only mode in city environments, where its is quiet and smooth, but loses something of the dynamics of the regular A3 because of the battery weight beneath the floor. Crucially, the standard everyday hybrid mode does brilliantly well at using the electric motor as much as possible, saving the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol back-up for more pressing needs and topping up battery charge.

Source: The Northern Echo

Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid (Image: The Register)

The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

You wouldn’t know it was an EV … except it might use NO petrol

Vulture at the Wheel It would have been difficult for Audi to launch an electric car differentiated more from BMW’s. Whilst the BMW i3 has been styled and engineered to look and perform like something from another planet, the new A3 e-tron most definitely has not.

This is Audi’s first production ‘leccy car since it announced it would not be mass producing the all-electric concept e-tron coupe or the design-study Wankel rotary-engined A1 e-tron range extender.

What we have here is something that – if you removed the e-tron badges, taped over the interior decals and didn’t rummage around too deeply in the display menus – you could get in and drive from John O’Groats and Land’s End and not notice it was an EV at all.

Of course, this is entirely deliberate. Audi thinks the path to electric motoring is not to scare the horses but still to bundle some cutting edge drivetrain technology under the bonnet. That’s why the A3 e-tron looks just like any other A3, right down to hiding the charge socket under the four-circles badge at the front – a place you’d never notice it unless you were looking for it and had been told its whereabouts to begin with.

The only clue to what’s in play here is under the bonnet. Pop the hood, as the Americans say, and you’ll see the high power electric cabling and associated 75kW electric motor which is coupled to a slightly modified 150ps 4-cylinder 1.4L turbocharged TFSI petrol engine.

The electric motor draws its power from a 96-cell 8.8kWh Li-Ion battery pack that’s buried beneath the rear seats. The 12V battery and its associated electrics, evicted from under the bonnet by the electric drive motor, now snuggle up alongside the fuel tank at the back. This means the new drive train set-up doesn’t have any noticeable impact on the A3’s front-to-back weight distribution

Read More: The Register

Audi A3 e-tron crash testing (Image: Euro NCAP)

Electric Audi gains top honours in Euro NCAP safety tests

Euro NCAP has awarded the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron five stars in the latest round of crash tests.

The Kia Soul and electric Soul EV both scored four stars, while Jeep’s new Renegade compact SUV scored five stars.

Euro NCAP’s testers gave the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron an adult safety rating of 82%, noting good body protection for both driver and passenger during front impact tests. The electric Audi scored a 66% rating for pedestrian protection, and a 78% rating for child safety.

Kia’s Soul EV scored an adult safety rating of 84%, plus 82% for child safety. Testers noted that the Soul EV scored particularly well during side impact tests, with good body protection throughout.

The standard Soul fared slightly less well, gaining an adult safety rating of 75% and a child rating of 82%.

Jeep’s baby Renegade impressed Euro NCAP’s testers, offering good protection during both front- and side impact tests. The model was given an 87% rating for adult protection, and 85% for children.

BMW also earned a Euro NCAP award for its advanced pedestrian warning and city braking systems.

Source: What Car

Electric Car Recharging

Is now the time to buy an electric or hybrid car?

Best cars and options explored

The future of driving appears to be electric, with Formula E in full effect, supercars adopting hybrid drive systems and range getting further all the time. Fuel powered engines may have their days numbered. But is it time to make the change to electric?

Now that the big car manufacturers are creating hybrid and electric cars we can be assured that it’s the future. And thanks to infrastructure improving all the time for charging stations range isn’t becoming such a big issue. But last year’s Tesla owners won’t get updated with the latest self-driving tech of this year’s Tesla, not a very nice reward for early adopting.

So is it still too early to adopt? Are batteries in cars suddenly going to improve to make current models a joke? We’ve looked at what going on to help give you a clearer idea of what to do.

Pure electric cars right now

The selection of pure electric cars right now isn’t huge, but it’s more than ever before and range is now good enough for day-to-day use. Prices, in the UK at least, are kept reasonable thanks to government assistance taking £5,000 off the price and offering free tax. If you offset petrol costs too you’re saving even more.

At the top end there’s Tesla with its Model S boasting all wheel drive and self-driving smarts starting at around the £50,000 mark. But this is in a league of its own with sports car performance, plus the latest model is not actually going to be in the UK until July 2015, even if you can buy yours now.

Then there are established brands like BMW, Ford, VW, Nissan and Renault all making fully electric cars at affordable prices right now.
Range, charging times, price and power

When going electric most people will be juggling these few key numbers: range, charging time, price and power.

PRICE: Firstly there’s price, at which the Renault Zoe wins by a fair margin starting at £14,000. Nissan’s Leaf can be bought from £16,500, Kia’s Soul EV is £25,000, the VW e-Golf is from £26,000, and BMW with its i3 is from £31,000.

RANGE: The range winner, from the reasonably priced cars, is the Kia Soul EV with 135 miles. In close second is the Nissan Leaf with 124 miles. Coming in behind them is the BMW i3 with a 118 mile range along with the VW e-Golf also sporting a 118 mile range, followed by the Renault Zoe with 93 miles.

Of course if you include the Tesla Model S that wins with its base model eeking out an impressive 240 miles on a charge and its top end offering 312 miles a go. But you get what you pay for.

CHARGE: This is a fairly even playing field with the cars all offering a rapid charge to 80 per cent in half an hour. Across the board it’ll cost you to upgrade your home charger for faster charging but this can result in as fast as a 3-hour charge to full.

POWER: Electric cars deliver all their torque instantly and the engine directly powers the wheels, this means they feel really nippy pulling away. The Nissan Leaf utilises 107hp to do 0-60mph in just 7 seconds making it the quickest of the lot off the mark.

The BMW i3 has 170hp for a 0-60mph time of 7.2 seconds, the Renault Zoe has 83hp for a 0-60mph time of 8 seconds, and the VW e-Golf manages 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds thanks to its 114hp motor. In last place is the Kia Soul EV with its 108bhp delivering a 0-60mph time of 10.8 seconds.

So for price the Renault Zoe wins it, but for range and power the Kia Soul EV comes out on top.

Plug-in hybrid electric cars right now

Hybrids have been around for years with the Toyota Prius leading the way with its dual-drive system. These are now more common than ever with Uber drivers using Prius as the car of choice.

But the market has grown, especially recently, with plug-in hybrids that allow drivers to charge at home so they may never need to use the fuel engine, instead reserving that for long distance journeys only.

From the Volvo V60 Plug-in and Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid to the Golf GTE or the BMW i3 with range extender, hybrids are fast becoming viable alternatives to single engine cars. The extra you may spend on the new technology can soon be made back in the petrol and tax savings they offer.

Range, charging times, price and power

Plug-in hybrid cars mean less of a worry about range than pure electric while also offering power and a reasonable price.

As with the Tesla we’re not going to include the likes of the McLaren P1, BMW i8, Porsche 918 and Ferrari LaFerrari as they’re all reserved for the super rich. And we’re only using plug-in hybrids as straight hybrids are fast becoming outdated in favour of the electric only options and extended range of plug-in hybrids.

PRICE: The plug-in hybrid range have all arrived at a similar time with manufacturers savvy to the government’s £5,000 contribution. For this reason they’re all very similarly priced.

The winner, by a narrow margin is the Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid from £25,000, with Mitsubishi PHEV GX3h from £28,250 in second and closely followed by the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid from £28,395.

Then we have the Vauxhall’s Ampera from £29,000, Audi A3 Sportback e-tron from £35,000, BMW i3 Range Extender from £34,000 and Volvo V60 Plug-in hybrid from £45,000.

RANGE: Winning with an impressive 967 mile range is the Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid but it only manages around 20 miles on electric alone. Closely behind that is the BMW i3 with range extender that offers a 930-mile top end with pure electric for 105 miles, making it overall cheaper to run than the Ford. The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid can manage up to 700 miles in one journey but loses on electric alone with just 15 miles on a charge.

Audi’s A3 Sportback e-tron can last for 585 miles with 31 of those miles on electric alone. Despite its size the Mitsubishi PHEV GX3h manages 500 miles with 32 on electric alone. Vauxhall’s Ampera eeks out 310 miles with between 20 and 50 of those miles on battery.

CHARGE: As in pure electric cars this is a fairly even playing field with the cars all offering a rapid charge to 80 per cent in half an hour. Across the board it’ll cost you to upgrade your home charger for faster charging but this can result in as fast as a 3-hour charge to full.

POWER: The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, as the name suggests, wins this with a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds thanks to 204hp. The BMW i3 Range Extender model is second offering 170hp for 0-60mph in 7.9 seconds.

The Vauxhall Ampera does 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds with 148hp, despite having 178hp the Ford takes 9.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid gets from 0-60mph in 11 seconds from 134hp, the Mitsubishi PHEV GX3h does 0-60mph in 11 seconds and has 186hp.

The winner for price is the Ford Mondeo Titanium Hybrid but the BMW i3 takes it for range with the Audi offering the most power.

Future electric and hybrid cars

The future of electric cars and hybrid machines is looking positive. Charging infrastructure is cropping up all over the country with Tesla’s Elon Musk promising to install his Supercharger network UK wide by the end of next year.

Crucially, right now, it’s possible to drive pure electric all the way from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England thanks to fast chargers along the way. It might take a little longer than petrol cars since you have to stop for half an hour to recharge, but it won’t cost as much by a long shot. So adopting right now, especially if you’re going for a hybrid, isn’t as risky as it once was.

Another issue is batteries. Developments are being made more and more regularly as car manufacturers pour money into research. But worrying about having an older battery shouldn’t be an issue as, hopefully, manufacturers will be able to swap out old for new future-proofing any car you buy now.

Next year Tesla hopes to offer a car which is nearly completely self-driving. But since that’s out of the price range of most people current electric car offerings are plenty futuristic.

If you’re already driving a car and the cost of petrol and tax are proving too much then electric or hybrid could be your way out.

Source: Pocket Lint