Audi is working on a project to produce an extended-range electric vehicle that uses a rotary engine for battery recharging. Audi is currently testing prototypes based on the A1 e-Tron Concept, which was launched last March at the Geneva Motor Show.
There are plans to sell the model in Europe but so far, no decision has been reached on whether it will enter the US market. It’s believed that Audi will reintroduce the A2 name through this model. In an interview with Motor Trend, Michael Dick, Audi's board member for technology, the company will begin a pilot project at the end of 2010.
Dick revealed that the first prototype car is “running very well at the moment.” He added that the company aims to come up with a small series at the end of 2012 or the early part of 2013.
Audi intends to base future models on this electric car. Audi said during the Geneva auto show that the concept is estimated to have a range of 31 miles under electric power, with a peak power output of 75 kilowatts or about 102 hp.
As soon as the battery power is all used up, the small rotary engine kicks in and gives an added 124-mile range. With regards to the rotary engine, Dick commented that this concept is a “big favorite” of his because it “works perfectly with this city car.”
He explained that there’s more space since the rotary engine is small. He pointed out that the model remains to be a four-seater while still offering a full space in the trunk. The original A2, which was produced in Europe from late 1999 to 2005, received plenty of criticism for its styling and unsatisfactory performance. [via autonews - sub, required]