Audi A3 Sportback e-tron officially revealed

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 17, 2013

Audi is in the process of electrifying the drivetrain in its cars through the plug-in hybrid technology. An example of the product of such efforts is the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron which was previously shown at the Geneva Motor Show.

The A3 has a 204 horsepower engine that can have a 258 lb-ft of torque. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 8 seconds and has a 138 mph top speed. This five-door vehicle uses about 1.5 liters of fuel for every 100 km which translates to around 35 grams per kilometer of CO2 emissions. Using solely its electric motor, the A3 can reach a top speed of 80 mph going for 30 miles. The A3 Sportback is unlike any hybrid.

Its 1.4-liter combustion engine delivers 150-hp with a 250 lb-ft of torque while the electric motor produces 100-hp with 243 lb-ft ot torque. Furthermore, the electric motor is shaped like a disc and by integrating it with the 6-speed transmission, allows the motor to transfer power to the car’s front wheels.

Audi’s new model has two power plants that complement one another. The motor can have torque as high as 2,000 rpm with the pulling power of the engine within 1,750 to 4,000 rpm. At the heart of the A3 Sportback’s electric unit is the lithium-ion battery system.

This is a high-voltage battery encased inside aluminum housing and has a capacity of 8.8 kWh. It has eight modules with each module having 12 cells. The battery has its own liquid cooling system to ensure that the battery operates at optimum temperature. The battery system is space efficient as well since it is kept under the rear seat, thus also protecting it from crashes. The electronics that convert DC from the battery to AC in the motor is inside a compartment in the engine.

This system uses the cooling system of the battery, along with the charging device. Audi’s charging connection is easy to locate since it is behind the four rings in the front grille. The battery can therefore be charged and become full in about 2.5 hours using a3.6 kW charger.

Though the electrical system is part of the car, there is no cause for concern since the entire electrical network does not have any conductive connection to the car’s other parts. Thus, in case of a collision, once the tension system in the seatbelt and the airbags are activated, the electrical system automatically disconnects itself from the power supply.

The model’s air condition compressor even has its own electric drive while the heating function is supported by an electric auxiliary heater. The vacuum brake servo meanwhile has its own connection and is served through an electric vacuum pump.

The hybrid system is so attuned with the electric motor that when the driver applies moderate brakes, the electric motor becomes an alternator, allowing the recovery of energy to be channeled to the battery. In addition, the wheel brakes of the A3 can only become active if the pedal is pressed forcefully. Being a hybrid system, the driven has the option to use the combustion engine, the electric motor, or both.

Aside from being able to use a hybrid, this model also gives the driver the choice whether or not to use the two power plants together, also known as boosting. The driver can also do a “gliding” which is when the power plants are deactivated while the accelerator is being pressed. What happens then is that the torque is removed therefore increasing efficiency. There are three driving programs that a driver can select with the EV button.

First there is the electric mode, the D program allows the A3 to run more efficiently, and the S stands for sporty. The engine is not the only highlight of this model. The ergonomic interior is also something to be proud of given its high-quality finish.

The interior is finished with a Cloudy Gray that contrasts with the highlights on the sport seats. The door sill trims are made of aluminum and carry the e-tron logos. E-tron badges can also be seen on the steering wheel and gear knobs. Finally, the trunk has 9.89 cubic feet of space which can be increased to 35 cubic feet by folding the rear seats.

Press Release

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi is working intently to electrify the drivetrain using plug-in hybrid technology. The brand with the four rings is showing the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. With 150 kW (204 hp) of system power and 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of system torque, sporty performance is guaranteed.The A3 Sportback e-tron is a true Audi. It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph).

According to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid automobiles, the five-door model consumes on average just 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (156.81 US mpg), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 35 grams per km (56.33 g/mile). In purely electric mode, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron achieves a top speed of 130 km/h (80.78 mph) with a range of up to 50 km (31.07 miles).The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron uses the highly efficient concept of a parallel hybrid.

The combustion engine is a modified 1.4 TFSI, which develops 110 kW (150 hp) and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) of torque. The TFSI operates in tandem with an electric motor that generates 75 kW and 330 Nm (243.40 lb-ft) of power.

The disc-shaped electric motor is integrated into a newly designed six-speed e-S tronic, which transfers the power to the front wheels. The two powerplants complement each other. The electric motor develops peak torque from start to around 2,000 rpm, and the TFSI's maximum pulling power is available in a range from1,750 to 4,000 rpm.The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron's energy store is a lithium-ion battery system installed in a space-efficient, crash-protected location in the floor, beneath the rear bench seat.

The high-voltage battery, inside a housing made mainly from aluminum, has a capacity of 8.8 kWh. It comprises eight modules with a total of 96 cells.A liquid cooling system with its own low-temperature circuit keeps the battery in the optimum temperature range. This sophisticated technology is key to the power and stamina of the electric drive unit, which remains available at low ambient temperatures.

The power electronics are housed in the engine compartment of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. These convert the direct current from the battery into alternating current to power the motor. The compact unit, with integral DC-DC converter to supply the 12V electrical system shares the same cooling circuit as the battery and charging device.The charging connection is located behind the four rings in the radiator grille; the charging socket, like the TFSI engine, sports an e-tron badge.

The high-voltage battery can be fully charged in around two and a half hours with a 3.6 kW charger. All relevant components within the high-voltage network of the A3 Sportback e-tron have no conductive connections to other parts of the vehicle. In the event of the belt tensioners or airbags being activated in an accident, the system is immediately disconnected from the power supply. The air conditioning compressor has a high-voltage electric drive; an electric auxiliary heater supports the heating function for the interior.

The vacuum brake servo has an additional supply connection served by an electric vacuum pump. The hybrid management is tuned responsively with the electric motor. Up to moderate braking forces the powerful electric motor, now operating as an alternator, supplies most of the retardation and recovers much of the energy expended so that it can be channeled back into the high-voltage battery. The wheel brakes only become active if the driver presses the pedal more forcefully.

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron can be driven with just the combustion engine, just the electric drive or in hybrid mode. Even in electric mode it offers powerful acceleration without the need to engage the TFSI. The driver can choose to have both powerplants active at the same time ("boosting"). When the driver lets up on the accelerator, they both deactivate temporarily ("gliding"). In this way, engine braking torque is eliminated and efficiency increases.

Three driving programs are selected using the EV button and the e-tron's selector lever. The EV characteristic map covers the electric mode; the D program makes the A3 Sportback e-tron run especially efficiently, and in the S plane it is notably sporty.The ergonomic interior of the A3 Sportback e-tron has an uncompromisingly high-quality finish.

The interior is finished in Cloudy Gray, with contrasting stitching highlighting the S sport seats. The door sill trims are in aluminum and display e-tron logos; there are also e-tron badges on the gear knob and steering wheel. The trunk capacity is 280 liters (9.89 cubic ft); folding down the rear seats increases this to around 1,000 liters (35.31 cubic ft).

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