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Audi A3 e-tron plug-in petrol-electric hybrid concept

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The Audi A3 e-tron plug-in petrol-electric hybrid concept is being revealed at the Shanghai motor show.

It may look like an Audi A4, but it’s actually based on the new A3 saloon concept. The A3 e-tron has two powerplants and lithium-ion batteries that store enough energy to propel the car on electric power alone for up to 34 miles.

Designed as a plug-in hybrid, the A3 e-tron concept is propelled by two power units – a 211 PS 1.4 TFSI four-cylinder engine with turbocharging and petrol direct injection, and an electric motor with an output of 27 PS. The system provides a combined output of 238 PS. Working together, the petrol engine and electric motor accelerate the car to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds, then on to 144 mph. A regulated oil pump, Audi’s thermal management system, a start-stop system and an energy recovery system all contribute to efficiency.

At the heart of the A3 e-tron concept are the lithium-ion batteries located behind the rear seats. With a charge capacity of 12 kWh, they give the car a range of up to 34 miles on electric power alone.

The batteries are charged by the energy recovery system when the car is in motion or directly from a household power socket when it is parked. This means that in most cases, the car is entirely emission-free in city driving.

The car has a seven-speed S tronic transmission. It has two transmission structures, which are operated by two clutches.

The driver can operate the seven-speed S tronic in one automatic mode and one manual mode, using the paddles on the steering wheel to change gears manually. Touch control buttons alongside the handrest on the centre tunnel console allow the driver to select drive positions R, N and D. The car also has a launch control system to manage acceleration ‘off the line’.

The Audi drive select dynamic handling system gives the driver five modes – comfort, auto, dynamic, individual and efficiency – from which to select the characteristics of the engine, power steering and seven-speed S tronic.

The Audi A3 e-tron concept’s chassis is derived from the current RS 3 Sportback.