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The technology of the Audi A3 E-Tron: Sportback with plug-in hybrid

The technology of the Audi A3 E-Tron
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S o an Audi S3, yes, that would be what. At least so far, the role of the dream cars within the A3 series has been clearly divided. But times are changing, many motorists today dream of particularly stingy rather than powerful vehicles. With the A3 Sportback E-Tron, Audi would like to combine both - and remind us a little of the good old days. Finally, the information brochure on the study begins by highlighting the driving performance.

But what exactly is hidden this time behind the term E-Tron, which is now quite common at the brand, but is only associated with concept vehicles? At first glance, a plug-in drive train that doesn't seem so futuristic. It combines a TFSI petrol engine with an electric motor and is designed as a so-called parallel hybrid with external charging (plug-in). What that means? That both units act together or separately on the front wheels.

Fantastic consumption figures

The turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder has an output of 150 hp and develops a maximum torque of 250 Newton meters, which is available in a range of 1750 to 4000 rpm. A permanently excited synchronous motor with an output of 75 kilowatts and a torque of 330 Newton meters serves as the second power source.

Together, both develop a maximum of 204 hp and 350 Nm. The new S3 has a little more to offer with its 300 PS, but its consumption is also significantly higher than 1.5 L /100 km - the value that should be achieved with the E-Tron. That would correspond to CO2 emissions of just 35 grams per kilometer.

How do these values ​​come about? There is a separate standard called ECE-R101 for plug-in hybrids. It includes an urban and extra-urban cycle that is completed once with full and empty batteries on a roller dynamometer - i.e. once purely electrically and once with the combustion engine. The results are offset against each other and give the standard consumption. In this way, the pure combustion consumption is reduced arithmetically by 66 percent with an electric range of 50 kilometers.

But that's still theory, it will have to prove its savings talent in a year at the earliest if it goes into series production. Then the electric range should be especially important for many commutersbe interesting, which the manufacturer specifies as 50 kilometers. The energy required for this is provided by a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of 8.8 kilowatt hours. It is anchored under the rear seat to save space and is crash-proof and is made up of 96 cells, which in turn form eight modules.

The cargo space volume nevertheless shrinks by 100 to 280 liters, with the rear seat folded down, 1000 liters remain (A3 Sportback : 1220 liters). The battery should be recharged within around 2.5 hours at a 230 V /16 A power connection. Liquid cooling, which forms its own low-temperature circuit, keeps it in the appropriate temperature range. In addition, the electric drive should accelerate the A3 reliably and quickly in winter cold.

And which transmission manages the power? A six-speed e-S-Tronic that operates in three driving programs: “EV” for purely electric driving, “D” for particularly efficient, “S” for a decidedly sporty driving style. It also allows so-called sailing, i.e. deactivates the drive when the driver takes off the gas.

Artificially generated sound

You can also configure the hybrid mode via the MMI infotainment system, for example for maximum efficiency or fully charging the battery while driving. By the way: if the A3 is moving through traffic, it draws attention to itself with an artificially generated sound in order to avoid collisions with pedestrians or bicycles. Does it sound as thrilling as the turbocharged five-cylinder in the last RS3?

Speaking of brakes: The drive also helps with the E-Tron. The electric motor builds up a large part of the negative acceleration as a generator up to medium deceleration ranges, whereby it recovers energy and thus feeds the battery. When the driver steps harder on the brake pedal, the classic hydraulics take over. Their vacuum brake booster has an additional supply that runs via an electric vacuum pump.

The electronic control of the hybrid coordinates the work of the two brake systems, which should take place without noticeable transitions. What does the driver get from it? Actually everything, because where the tachometer is usually located, a so-called power meter now provides information on the total output, the status of the drive and the charge status of the battery. In addition, both the central display integrated in the instrument cluster and the MMI monitor show the flow of power - just as it encouraged the drivers of the first Toyota Prius generation to drive efficiently.

New online services

But in the smartphone age, a hybrid has to offer even more. So Audi is currently thinking of numerous new online services, with which, for example, the charging process or the preconditioning of the interiorcan be conveniently activated and controlled via the mobile phone.

And how does the E-Tron stand out from a normal Sportback? Apart from numerous lettering, the study is adorned with eye-catching 15-spoke light-alloy wheels in 18-inch format, and the radiator grille also has chrome-plated cross bars with a three-dimensional, sharp-edged profile. And the snappy paint job is called Misano Red, in which mostly S and RS variants are usually dipped.

Wait a minute, there was something else - right, the performance. The A3 Sportback E-Tron should sprint from zero to 100 km /h in 7.6 seconds and go up to 220 km /h. These are impressive values ​​for a plug-in hybrid compact car. Will that, together with the low fuel consumption, be enough to achieve dream car status?
We'll see.

Read the interview with Audi Board Member for Development Wolfgang Dürheimer here the technical details of the plug-in hybrid presented for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show.


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