Plug-in Audi A3 hybrid shows the way

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This is Audi's most realistic look yet at near-future plug-in hybrid technology - the A3 e-tron - and it'll be on display at the at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

And it's no milk float - it'll sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 222km/h, while using an average of 1.5 litres of petrol per 100km, according to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrids, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 35 grams per km.

In electric mode, the Audi A3 e-tron has a top speed of 130km/h and has a maximum range of 50 km.

The combustion side of the powertrain equation id modified 1.4 TFSI producing 110kW, with a clutch linking it to a disc-shaped 75kW electric motor, which is built into a new six-speed e-S tronic transmission, which transfers the power to the front wheels.

The electric motor delivers its peak torque from start to about 2000rpm.

The TFSI's maximum pulling power, by contrast, is available from 1750-4000rpm.

The Audi A3 e-tron can be driven on only the combustion engine, as a pure electric or in hybrid mode - or you can have both powerplants active at the same time, which Audi calls boosting. And when you lift your foot off the accelerator, they both shut down to reduce overrun torque - gliding in Audispeak.

As soon as you touch the brake, however, the electric motor switches over to function as a generator, slowing the car down by absorbing kinetic energy and charging the battery with energy that would otherwise be wasted as heat.

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