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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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      Luc K
      • 12 Hours Ago
      The article doesn't say entire line up so where does that come from: "Audi plans to have a plug-in hybrid variant of each of its key models by 2020" This means just their key models which will be A3, Q7 and A6L and A8. The A6L PHEV is only planned for Chinese Market so we're talking here about just 3 cars and the A8 is many years away. There's decent amount of info on A3 e-Tron since customers can order it now in Europe and there has been several test drives. Not sure if the FWD/AWD sentence before A3 e-tron is meant to be related but it's FWD only model. For US probably mid 2015 but very low volume and pricing around $39K most likely.
      Marco Polo
      • 12 Hours Ago
      @ kinasi VW isn't the largest auto-maker in the world, that crown is disputed between Toyota and GM. However, VW is easily the most profitable manufacturer, and 30% of that profit comes from it's Audi division. The Volkswagen Group's before-tax profits leapt by $9.7bn to $43 bn in 2012 as sales of vehicles from its 12 brands – which include truck makers MAN and Scania – jumped by one million units to 9.3 million. Total VW Group 2012 revenue was $285bn, up 20.9 per cent on 2011. So, what do they care about the opinions of a handful of internet critic's, who probably can't afford to buy a new Audi PHEV when it eventually arrives.
      Koenigsegg
      • 12 Hours Ago
      Should be called HAEV's (Half Ass Electric Vehicles)
      Joeviocoe
      • 12 Hours Ago
      VW / Audi getting ready for another line of media campaigns with a lot of empty promises.
        Naturenut99
        • 12 Hours Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        While I fully agree that all they have done so far is talk about EV's promising they are going to release one and never have. Year after year. Their backs might be against the wall and have no choice now. To many others are making them with mostly good reception. So hopefully this isn't another yearly PR stunt. But also won't hold my breath either.
        kinasi
        • 12 Hours Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        VW is the largest automaker in the world. What are you even talking about "empty promises". They have delivered year after year. Do you know the slightest thing about VW?
      • 12 Hours Ago
      Electric car line could be more financially beneficial to auto makers than engine powered product. Electric cars have shorter life cycle due to: Battery Life, constant technology upgrades Stefan Amraly Lotus Energy Group
        XXXX
        • 12 Hours Ago
        Yes, and no one is going to collect or covet electric cars like the Volt, Nissan and others, or even Hybrid cars like the Prius. They are boring, unexciting and really limit your lifestyle. Excessive heat and cold limit their range, re-charges take between 2-7 hours, Which is great in an emergency, you can't tow trailers with them, (so no camping), their battery packs are very expensive to replace, and you just cannot shop around for an alternative, they are dangerous to firefighters and rescue personal with hazardous chemicals, and a shock hazard, and try to find someone to work on them in the middle of Nebraska. And the worst thing is because they are very quiet many people are run down by them because you can't hear. them coming!
          Joeviocoe
          • 12 Hours Ago
          @XXXX
          Tesla is already highly coveted.... As for the the rest of your rant, that is all bull which had been proven false again and again
        FordGo
        • 12 Hours Ago
        "Electric cars have shorter life cycle due to: Battery Life, constant technology upgrades" If you believe this, I hope you're NOT in the Lotus Energy Group, or you'd better learn quick that Fox News or Fox Business is In No Way Capable of Teaching you the facts of Electric Vehicles.
      Joeviocoe
      • 12 Hours Ago
      @ kinasi --"Do you know the slightest thing about VW?" I own a VW. Have for 7 years. I love the car. But when it comes to EVs or Plugins... both Audi and VW are kings of promise without delivery.
      Marco Polo
      • 12 Hours Ago
      @ kinasi VW isn't the largest auto-maker in the world, that crown is disputed between Toyota and GM. However, VW is easily the most profitable manufacturer, and 30% of that profit comes from it's Audi division.
      DaveMart
      • 12 Hours Ago
      It is not the case that all the automakers are simply sticking to their guns in developing their favoured drive trains. As well as the FCEV, Toyota is heavily into hydridising every car model they do. Nissan/Renault have not got the sales for BEVs that they were expecting as quickly as they had planned, and are going to release PHEVs now. I would suggest that the PHEV format is the one that most automakers are leaning to.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 12 Hours Ago
        @DaveMart
        PHEV, will do little for Europe as, once again, they have no place to plug in due to living in flats and other muti family residences that have street parking." No PHEV for you!" says the hydrogen/petrol Nazis. ; )
          DaveMart
          • 12 Hours Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          See comment below apologising for my irritability. On PHEVs, they will do a lot of Europeans fine, as plenty do have garages, but they can still use the cars on a long run. VW knows the European market well, and their choice is a good one for here.
      FordGo
      • 12 Hours Ago
      The A3 sport back is an exciting inviting offering. But, I can see this is going to be an Audi "Exclusiveness" product, with that pricing model.
        Trent
        • 12 Hours Ago
        @FordGo
        I was excited when I saw this and wanted to add it to a list of cars we are going to test this weekend and buy next month. 31 miles? I removed it as quickly as I added it. At 100 miles Audi, it goes back on the list for me and many others.
        Koenigsegg
        • 12 Hours Ago
        @FordGo
        Nah wouldn't spend a dime on it, would drive it but not worth its 50k price, would get a Volt over it no hesitation
      PeterScott
      • 12 Hours Ago
      The are the kings of EV... EV vaporware. Audi must have done 20 announcements like this. Just deliver product.
      Levine Levine
      • 12 Hours Ago
      Another Audi pronouncement for the sake of generating attention. As in the past Audi wants your attention but fails to deliver the goods. On a good day Audi will teaser you with fancy curvy sheet metal. On a bad day, Audi will promise you a good time in the seat of an Audi. Even after a couple of beers, upon closer inspection you'll notice Audi is a diseased attention *****.
        purrpullberra
        • 12 Hours Ago
        @Levine Levine
        All true. With skyrocketing sales and a ton of Le Mans victories. Audi, she's a complex who-ah.
      purrpullberra
      • 12 Hours Ago
      I love a LOT of AUDI tech and am very impressed by much of their work but I've heard 1000 TIMES the E-tron name on all manner of vehicle from barely electric to full-on EV. The moniker is meaningless to me anymore. They might as well call them the 'eco' whatever, A3 Sportback Eco. It is really kind of sad personally since I am impressed by the accomplishments Audi make. Plus there is the on-off-on-off-on nature of their 'commitment' to E-tron's. Overall they seem rather gutless about it. But I'm sure some of them will be awesome!
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