If all goes well – a big if, we might add – Vahana could be airborne as early as the end of 2017.
In simplistic terms, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid will go real far when it needs to go and stop when it needs to stop. The PHEV has now been certified to protect its occupants when they need to be protected. So there's not much more that you can ask from a vehicle.
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.
Audi is proving that the fresh water flowing through the European Alps isn't just for bottling and drinking anymore. The German automaker struck a deal with Hamburg-based LichtBlick to offer buyers of the Audi A3 Sportback E-Tron a chance to get their electrical juice from all renewable-energy sources. That means all the power going into charging stations can come from hydroelectric power from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
When it comes to gearboxes in battery-electric vehicles, the more may be the merrier. That's one theory, and Plug In Cars says that the standard, single-gear EV configuration may eventually go by the wayside as engineers figure out how to better use multi-gear configurations to improve performance and range. It's an argument we've heard time and time and time again, but the added weight and complexity of a transmission means it's not been a popular choice in real-world used.
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