The R8 E-Tron is dead, long live the E-Tron SUV.
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.
Over the years, we've had a chance to test a lot of Audi E-Tron vehicles, from very early all-electric prototypes (back then we only got to sit in the passenger seat) to the A6 L E-Tron PHEV and the A1 E-Tron plug-in hybrid. All of them were concepts and promises, merely whispers of what was possible, even as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and two Tesla models were making waves in the marketplace.
The question of whether Audi will morph the next-gen R8 (pictured above, in testing) into a plug-in-hybrid challenger for the BMW i8 may have been answered. CarAdvice, in Australia, is claiming that any plans for a PHV 2016 R8 have been shelved, and that Audi will go ahead with gas-powered or all-electric models, only.
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 has put a price tag on the A3 Sportback E-Tron plug-in hybrid, for which presales begin this month in Germany. To get your hands on one of these little guys, Audi is asking for €37,900, or about $51,537 according to current exchange rates. Of course, the base MSRP doesn't include any incentives, but in Germany, those savings would come from certain annual tax exemptions that apply to PHEVs. Buyers in other countries might have more luck in getting into an A3 E-Tron for less.
Audi may be looking to get seriously competitive in the electric vehicle market, according to a report from Reuters. The company has plans prepared for a range of EVs that would compete with the likes of BMW and Tesla. In a market where innovation is seen as valuable, getting on board with electrification could help Audi avoid appearing out of step with the rest of the crowd (and the market), with analysts predicting a sharp uptick in battery-powered cars in the next several years.
Audi has been diving deep into the concept ideas pool for a while now, with out-there auto-show-only vehicles like the off-road Nanuk Quattro Concept (last year's Frankfurt Show) and the TT-previewing Allroad Shooting Brake (Detroit earlier this year). The automaker has also been hinting at wireless charging through its work with WiTricitiry and the Urban Concept Sportback from Frankfurt 2011. The latest evolution of these ideas is the brand-new Audi TT offroad concept show car, which makes an a
Audi technical boss Ulrich Hackenberg has a huge job ahead of him if he's going to add more electrified models his employer's portfolio. Currently, the German company's electrified offerings amount to just the Q5 Hybrid in the US and the A3 E-Tron in Europe, but British auto mag Autocar is claiming that Hackenberg wants to add a Tesla Model X-rivaling electric version of the company's long-rumored Q8 utility vehicle to the plans. That E-Tron model, said to be a high-riding crossover with coupe-l
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