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Audi A1 e-tron trial

The Audi A1 e-tron electric car

The electric Audi A1 e-tron is to go on trial in Germany, with 20 cars set to hit the streets of Munich in 2011 as part of a pilot project.

The Audi A1 e-tron is an all-electric car when driven up to 31 miles in city traffic, but it also has a range-extender petrol engine on board to recharge the battery when its energy is depleted. It delivers the equivalent of 148.7 mpg fuel economy, equating to 45 g/km CO2 output.

The pilot project is being undertaken by Audi in partnership with E.ON, the Munich municipal utility company Stadtwerke München (SWM) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

‘Fuelled’ by 200 newly installed charging stations, the project will enable experts to address a number of issues, from the data transfer between the driver, vehicle and electric filling station to the power grid and the use of smartphones as the central interface for the driver.

Delivering an output equivalent to 102 PS, the lithium-ion battery mounted within the floor assembly in front of the rear axle of the A1 e-tron powers it to a top speed of 81 mph and gives it a range of more than 31 miles in city traffic. From start-up it is classified as a zero emissions vehicle over this distance. A compact internal combustion engine recharges the battery when its energy is depleted.

A small, single-rotor Wankel engine in this near-series production vehicle increases the range in exceptional circumstances. This “range extender” powers a generator that produces 15 kW of charging power. If the range extender is used to recharge the battery, the A1 e-tron can cover an additional 124 miles. According to a draft standard for the calculation of fuel consumption for range extender vehicles, this represents a fuel economy figure of 148.7 mpg, equating to a CO2 output of only 45 g/km.

All of the charging stations are supplied with electricity generated from renewable energies.

The Department of Vehicle Engineering has developed a mobile application that will be provided on a smartphone to all participants of the fleet trial. The device will thoroughly document their mobility behaviour – from their use of bicycles to the electric cars and from conventional cars to buses and trains. To ensure that the participants always use the smartphone, the Department of Ergonomics made sure that the application features an easy-to-use design that encourages use over the long-term. At the same time, the Department of Marketing is conducting a study to discover which billing models for the electricity used for e-mobility meet with the greatest acceptance.

All 20 examples of the battery-powered ‘Mega City vehicle’ (MCV) will be operational by mid-2011 as participants in the “eflott” project, which forms part of the “Model Region Electromobility Munich” initiative sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Transport.

The first examples of the petrol TFSI and diesel TDI versions of the new Audi A1 (priced from £13,420 to £18,665) will arrive in UK Audi Centres in November.

The first all-electric Audi e-tron model to enter production will be based on the e-tron sports car concept first shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Show and is expected to be available from late 2012.