Audi’s A1 was only officially unveiled at the 2010 Geneva motor show, but such is the plethora of new Ingolstadt product on the way that an A1 E-tron electric concept shared the stage with the production supermini. Also on display was the new A8 Hybrid.
The Audi A1 E-tron? That’s the third E-tron concept, right?
Yes, after the R8-based concept and the R4-previewing show car, and Audi wants E-tron to become a zero emissions brand in its own right, just as the Quattro tag is inexorably linked to its four-wheel drive models.
The Audi A1 E-tron concept is a plug-in range extender, with a petrol engine that only kicks in to charge the batteries when their charge is drained. The synchronous electric motor (located under the bonnet) has a continuous output of 45kW and 111lb ft, but it can produce 75kW and 177lb ft in short bursts. Power is sent to the front wheels via a single-speed gearbox.
Mounted under the floor are the lithium-ion batteries, and with a 12kWh capacity, the A1 E-tron can drive for 31 miles zero emissions miles. The surprise is the engine, which is a 254cc single-rotor Wankel engine that runs at a constant 5000rpm.
Audi claims the A1 E-tron weighs just 1190kg, can hit 62mph in 10.2 seconds and reach 80mph. It’ll also cover at least 124 miles if the petrol engine is running, but manage 123mpg and emit just 45g/km CO2.
And this huge Audi A8 with a hybrid badge?
Another concept car, but a real A8 plug-in hybrid is on the way within the next two years.
The concept features a 2.0 TFSI petrol engine and an electric motor, which combine to produce 241bhp and 354lb ft. That’s enough grunt for a 7.6 second run to 62mph (despite the power from both drive systems going through the front wheels) and a top speed of 146mph, yet the claimed consumption figure is 45.6mpg while emitting just 144g/km CO2. It’s the same powertrain we’ll see in the Q5 Hybrid, which will be launched later in 2010.