Despite years of researching any number of standard ICE alternatives, it's becoming clear that different automakers are starting to throw their weight behind their advanced-powertrain technologies of choice. For instance, Toyota is gearing up for its first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle next year. Nissan continues to preach the gospel of the battery-electric engine. For Audi, plug-in hybrids appear to be the way to go.

The German automaker plans to have a plug-in hybrid version of every one of its models by the end of the decade, UK's Autocar reports, citing comments Audi research and development head Ulrich Hackenberg made at a recent launch event for the A3 Sportback E-Tron. Hackenberg spelled out two variants of the powertrain, including one front-wheel drive version that pairs an electric motor with a 1.4-liter gas engine (this is the version used in the A3), and another to be used for four-wheel-drive vehicles in which an electric motor drives the rear wheels. We couldn't get more information from Audi representatives here on the A3 Sportback E-Tron launch ourselves, and an Audi spokesperson said in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen that the company wasn't commenting further on its plans for plug-in hybrid powertrains in more models.

Audi has started pre-sales of the A3 Sportback E-Tron in Germany, pricing the car at about $51,000 with deliveries to start sometime this winter. The vehicle puts out 204 horsepower and can go as far as 31 miles on electric power alone. An exact date has not been set for importing that plug-in to the US, but it will happen some time next year.


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