PHOTO CAPTION: Audi A3 electric prototype.

Audi A3 e-tron Is Electric with Hint of 'Old School'

Forbes' columnist Todd Woody gets his hands on Audi A3 electric car for short drive around San Francisco.

Published: 16-Nov-2012

When it comes to electric cars even such futuristic vehicles as Tesla Motors’ Model S retain some anachronistic affects of an earlier automobile age. For instance, Model S drivers can turn on a “creep” function (via a 17-inch touchscreen) that mimics a gasoline-powered car’s tendency to roll forward when you lift your foot off the brake.

But no one goes old school like Audi when it comes to adding a side of fossil-fuel comfort food to electric cars’ nouvelle cuisine. When I got behind the wheel of the Audi A3 e-tron prototype on Wednesday, I searched in vain for the on/off button that typically starts electric cars and hybrids.

Instead there’s a physical key in the “ignition” that you turn to fire up the lithium-ion battery pack. And don’t expect any high-tech touchscreens to get on your inner Captain Picard. We’re talking strictly analog here, including the “fuel” gauges that shows range and battery capacity. In other words, the A3 e-tron pretty much looks like the gasoline-version of the sporty four-door hatchback that’s a favorite among the art director eyeglass-wearing set.


German minister Lukas (left) with Audi board member Dreves. Electric e-Tron concept in the background.

eProduction program funded by Federal Ministry of Education and Research aims to generate industrial expertise in battery assembly.

Audi A3 e-tron electric car

The A3 e-tron pilot program will take place in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver markets.

Audi A6 L e-tron electric hybrid concept.

Tthe A6 L e-tron can travel up to 50 miles on electricity alone, but only at a maximum speed of 37 mph.


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