Audi announced it will be bringing its A3 e-tron program to the United States at the Technology Entertainment Design conference yesterday in Long Beach, California. TED is a four-day conference that has taken place in California for a quarter of a century now, and is a place where ideas for tomorrow are shared. While at TED2012 Audi intended on feeling out the general public and their opinions on how transportation will play a vital role in megacities in the future.
The Audi A3 e-tron pilot program is scheduled to be launched in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver. The objective for Audi is to determine what challenges and opportunities will be presented with the induction of an electric luxury hatchback. By introducing the A3 e-tron into different markets Audi will be able to evaluate how each vehicle handles diverse geography and weather. Gathering information on the effects of climate conditions, driving patterns, and energy performance will help Audi in developing the production version of a U.S. spec A3 e-tron.
“The A3 e-tron pilot program serves as an important innovation platform for Audi to develop greater insight into electric vehicles and how American driving conditions affect use of the progressive technology in everyday life,” said Jeff Curry, e-mobility and sustainability strategy lead at Audi of America. “We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers.”
With the ability to gather all of the aforementioned information Audi can evaluate and explore how a luxury electric vehicle will fare in the real world. The A3 e-tron pilot program is expected to run for the duration of one year with Audi making a decision if the vehicle will enter production soon after. During that time Audi will receive information directly to its engineering teams in both the United States and Germany.
The A3 e-tron is based on the popular A3 hatchback sold stateside coming in both gasoline and diesel configurations. The A3 e-tron features an electric powertrain with a 26 kilowatt lithium-ion battery and produces zero driving emissions. A battery range of 90 miles is expected out of the A3 e-tron with a top speed of around 90 mph as well. Audi has also joined other automakers that produce EV’s in using a globalized standard for charging an EV. During the pilot program Audi will develop relationships with some of the automakers and expand its network of infrastructure partners.