By on August 9, 2015


Audi announced this week that its plug-in hybrid version of the A3, dubbed A3 Sportback e-tron, will go on sale in October and cost $38,825 to start — $47,725 in Prestige trim — before federal and state incentives.

The car, which combines an 8.8 kWh battery and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, will make a combined 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy and range for all-electric driving hasn’t been announced by the automaker, although some reports peg the EV range at 30 miles.

The A3 plug-in hybrid will be the first Audi to run (at least partially) on electricity in the States.

The plug-in A3 starts at roughly $7,000 more than the base A3 sedan and about $4,700 more than the diesel A3 sedan. The e-tron is only available in front-wheel drive configuration.

Audi says that the car would take about eight hours to charge on a standard 120-volt outlet or just over two hours on a 240-volt outlet. An optional residential solar panel program, featured on the automaker’s online configurator, and carbon-credit program is available for the car. The automaker didn’t specifically detail either program in its announcement.

According to the automaker, more e-tron vehicles will be released in the U.S. but those haven’t been announced.

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22 Comments on “Audi’s Plug-in Hybrid A3 Will Start at $38,825, On Sale in October...”

  • avatar

    “The plug-in A3 starts at roughly $7,000 more than the base A3”

    With subsidies doesn’t that just about wash out ? I wouldn’t consider the A3 because (it’s an Audi and that will require a second mortgage to fix electrical and mechanical problems once the warranty is up and … ) it no longer comes in the hatch/wagon form. But if I could get a hatch with a hybrid for effectively no extra cost then .. maybe ?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe. It may not qualify for the full ‘guberment handout.

      The Prius plugin and the Fusion plugin for examples don’t qualify for the full tax credit.

      If the A3 has a full on 30 miles EV range it probably has enough to reach the max credit, or be darn close.

      If those prices are before ‘guberment handouts, and not after (be VERY careful with that assumption – almost every automaker when announcing an EV price has announced based on the full tax credit price, not price before) than Audi is in the game.

      The form factor is right (useful hatch that can do basic CUV duty). The other burning questions:

      1) Does it give up cargo room for the battery – most vehicles built this way do

      2) With the added weight of the battery on gas power only and charging the system hurt performance – most vehicles built this way do

      3) Can one trust Audi in general for a complex vehicle – Audi quality has gotten much better, MUCH better – probably the best quality of what VAG builds, but the A3 is built out of the same parts bin as the Jetta, Golf, Polo, etc. etc.

      Here are my if’s.

      IF it really gets 30 miles electric range

      IF it really is $38Kish to start before tax credit

      IF it doesn’t sacrifice cargo room for the battery

      IF it’s real world performance is at least acceptable (0 to 60 in under 9.5 seconds, 1/4 mile in under 16)

      IF there isn’t some weird, proprietary, you have to buy our charging technology because we said so

      Color me interested. This would be the Chevy Volt I was hoping Chevy would build in the first place.

      • 0 avatar

        Rated for 50 km of all-electric range (31 miles).

        Battery is under the rear seats, the fuel tank is shifted backward to make space, but the trunk space is still good (no conventional spare tire though). Standard Type 2 charging plug.

        0.60 in 7.5s in hybrid mode, 11 seconds in all-electric.

        Price is before the tax credits:

        Apparently the federal tax credit will be $4168.

        • 0 avatar

          Thank you – very helpful.

          So it is about a $3K premium after tax credit over a gas burning alternative, performance is below Prius grade in full electric to achieve the range.

          Question as you seem to have a lot of answers – if I’m in all electric and plant the accelerator to the floor, will it go to gas and get out of its own way, or will it lope along at 11 seconds to 60.

          I’m not of the “that’s a death trap at 11 seconds to 60” school of thought, but for me personally, out of the range of what I would find acceptable.

          Other electrics out there beyond the unloved Mitsubishi I beleve are all faster in full electric mode.

          There is something kind of sad thinking that an electric Chevy Spark will smoke an Audi A3 etron.

          • 0 avatar

            I have some answers but I have never driven the car (at least not yet). I believe if you select all-electric it will not engage the gas engine at all. With hybrid mode, it’ll start off with electric only and then engage the gas engine as needed. But you better test drive it to check it out for sure.

            Consider the A3 e-tron to be a hybrid with a plug, not an electric with a gas back-up. The latter category will generally all have more powerful electric motors and larger batteries.

        • 0 avatar

          That the Federal incentive is slightly above $4000 indicates a battery pack of about 8 kwh, slightly larger than what comes in the Fusion Energi, which has an EPA battery rating of 19 miles, although I can reliably get 23 miles out of mine. A charge time of 8 hours on a 120 volt 15 amp circuit indicates a similar size pack. Unless VW has some major trick up its sleeve, I’d expect a real world range in the low 20 mile area.

          • 0 avatar

            8.8 kWh battery vs Fusion Energi’s 7.6 kWh, plus 10% less weight.

            Sounds like a 25% range improvement over the Fusion should be possible, so if the Fusion does 23 miles in real life, the A3 should be pretty close to the 30-mile mark.

  • avatar

    “The A3 plug-in hybrid will be the first Audi to run (at least partially) on electricity in the States.”

    They’d take away my pedantry card if I didn’t point out that the first Audi to run at least partially on electricity in the States was the Audi R18 e-tron quattro LeMans racer, which was tested at Sebring in 2012.

    Video here:

  • avatar

    So much for the Tesla Model 3.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the lucid point.

      Elon Musk is a smart guy – he is a very smart guy. You don’t create a car company and put rockets into outer space by being dump. This guy is the JB Hunt of the space station.

      Musk is not dumb.

      But there is a growing list of companies coming out with series hybrids, parallel hybrids, and pure electrics way before the Model 3 comes out.

      When Musk came out with the Roadster, he had no competition – unless it was burning dino.

      When Musk came out with the Model S, he had no competition – unless it was burning dino and then the competition was generally better (e.g. more luxurious, more safety features)

      When Musk releases the Model X, there will be no competition, unless it burns dino and then still won’t have bad ass gull wing doors. The luxury gap will likely be closed also.

      When Musk finally releases the Model 3, he will likely be releasing into a pink ocean (not quite red yet) and be behind the competition. He will turn it into a red ocean. There will be 1:1 comparison reviews on a number of other vehicles, and buyers will have choice.

      One should also keep a careful eye on Toyota, which has said over and over that electrification is not the answer, and has committed to hydrogen fuel cell as the real solution going forward.

      Toyota isn’t a stupid company either, and they were the only company to make hybrids successful on a huge scale (although never did reach the gaols they predicted back in 2000 – not even close). No one else comes close.

      One other thing, as they Model 3 release drags out – BMW, GM, and Nissan, at the bare minimum, will have time to refine their offerings at least one more time – well maybe not GM, certainly Nissan and BMW.

      Is Tesla doomed – the answer of success may not lie in cars – and Musk will abandon or make the cars boutique it the answer is commercial and consumer battery backups, supporting “off the grid” systems to power homes and businesses, and selling battery cells built on a massive, industrial scale.

      Hey – those would be far more viable businesses. Imagine providing non-infrastructure dependent energy systems, with backup storage for night, bad weather, or other issues not just in developed parts of the world, but at remote locations where running power lines is difficult – if not impossible.

      There is a huge market all over the world for those solutions.

      One thing that Musk has done, is built a way to pivot the business. Think about it. He could sell the auto assets of TSLA, patents, tooling, etc. etc, insist on keeping the TSLA name – or license it, and instead become the General Electric of the 21st century.

      • 0 avatar

        What a load of twaddle. Backup batteries that have no serious capacity aren’t going to change the world. 3 kWh is just barely more than nothing, and many companies already make such systems. Get serious and buy a Honda generator. Obsolete form-factor li-on cells made in a Nevada desert Pyramid to Musk’s grand and glorious daydreams aren’t going to set the world on fire.

        Musk manages to pull the wool over so many otherwise sensible eyes, I just have to laugh out loud. You’ve swallowed the scheme hook, line and sinker, IMO. Optimism without basis.

      • 0 avatar

        The points about increasing competition for Tesla’s products are similar to what I was saying in the Tesla thread posted earlier: actual successful and profitable luxury marques are going to eat Tesla alive as the segment actually becomes profitable, largely because Tesla’s development cycle for new products is just way too long.

        I agree that Musk is a very intelligent man, but I don’t agree that Tesla can just pivot and become the next GE if/when they get outcompeted in the automobile market.

      • 0 avatar

        >> One other thing, as the Model 3 release drags out – BMW, GM, and Nissan, at the bare minimum, will have time to refine their offerings at least one more time – well maybe not GM, certainly Nissan and BMW.

        The problem with Tesla’s competitors is that they don’t have that SuperCharger Network. Dealer based charging doesn’t work well – limited hours in some cases and, well, they’re car dealers. Lot’s of issues there. CHAdeMO is starting to get outside of the dealer network, but there is a charge for it and not all of those have 24 hour availability. When I buy my next EV, my highest priority will be the charging network followed by range.

        • 0 avatar

          The problem with the Tesla network is that it’s only the Tesla network. As EVs become more common, the percentage of EVs using the Tesla connector will plummet, and non-Tesla stations may end up supporting only SAE and CHAdeMO connectors.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      This car is no threat to the Model 3.

      It will only compete partially with BEVs, but fully with other plug-in hybrids.

  • avatar

    Three’s a certain sanity to the design of most Audis that I find appealing. Instead of trying all manners of weird angles and frippery, they seem confident enough to just proclaim “I look like an Audi. Therefore I look good.”

    I’m less sold on what seems to be a VW corporate engineering goal, of aiming for the same driving experience targets, regardless of vehicle segment. The goal seems to be to make every car, regardless of size and shape, feel as close to an A8 from behind the wheel as possible. As quiet, as surefooted, as stable, as “solid.” Almost like a straight up admission that the only reason to buy an A3 over an A8, is that you can’t afford the latter. And that if you could, you would rather have one of those. Maybe I’m just being an aging snob, but if were to buy a small hatch, I would do so because I wanted something different, less tomb like, more lively, more “youthful” than the A8. Kind of how Baruth preferred the FiST to the GTI, despite the GTI being “better” (as in more A8 like, presumably.)

  • avatar

    This is such a F-Audi car for me. I realize it’s the deadest of dead internet horses, but as someone who is actively shopping and would certainly open his checkbook tomorrow for an A3 Sportback or very likely the S3 version, it makes me so mad to not have access to a non-hybrid or diesel luxury CUV alternative and Audi’s great service departments, especially when said cars are offered nearly everywhere else in the industrialized world.

  • avatar

    Audi’s research investment is increasingly into how to integrate electrification into their vehicles to provide substantial bumps in fuel economy. This is a play to manage Euro and US fleet emissions and gain competency in the game.

    The Q6, due to be demo’d at Frankfurt next month, will be a CUV/SUV running full electric. No word yet on range or when it will actually be available, but it’s a big move for Audi.

    Audi’s long rumored ‘e-quattro’ configuration should be next up, in theory allowing them to downsize most of their powertrains by leveraging electric motors to make up for the additional thrust. Some rumors have them using it to replace the rear wheel drive Torsen system with electric motors.

    My take on the adoption of electrification is that it will be most successful in those implementations where the EV powertrain complements a traditional dino unit, somewhat similar to what Porsche has done with the 918 but obviously in a mainstream way. It should be no surprise that manufacturers who have significant expertise in weight management (BMW, Audi) will likely see the greatest benefits in fuel economy.

    I’m not sold on pure EVs as being the way forward. I think that hybrid systems will become lighter and more tightly integrated with existing, downsized power plants.

    • 0 avatar

      “I’m not sold on pure EVs as being the way forward. I think that hybrid systems will become lighter and more tightly integrated with existing, downsized power plants.”

      I think this is definitely true right now and for the immediate future. A vehicle like this or the Q7 e-tron makes a hell of a lot more sense than carrying around 800 lbs. of batteries just to get ~200 miles of range: enough electric range for most daily commuting and errands and a powerful gas (or diesel) engine for when you need extra power or range. It just makes so much more sense, unless your primary concern is to appear more “ecofriendly” rather than actual practicality.

  • avatar

    “The e-tron is only available in front-wheel drive configuration.”

    So the essence of Audi is removed. It is thus pointless.

    • 0 avatar

      Quattro aside, there are several good reasons to buy an Audi. Style and efficiency, to name two. All wheel drive cars, that’s the reason to buy Subaru.

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