Getting Some Answers About This Often Confusing EV Program
The E-Tron name has been applied to at least a dozen concepts, test vehicles and rumors over the past four years.
If we take a quick look back in history, we realize that the first time Audi mentioned the name E-Tron to the public was all the way back in 2009. Back then, the name was applied to an entire concept car, called simply the E-Tron, which was an R8 converted to an electric vehicle with a big battery pack and some powerful electric motors. It was a supercar for the plug-in set, and it went over so well that Tony Stark drove one in Iron Man 3 this year. With that kind of publicity for the marquee E-Tron, it’s confusing that the E-Tron name has been applied to a seemingly endless stream of concepts, test vehicles and rumors over the past four years. At least a dozen, by our count.
There was the original R8 E-Tron, an A3 Sportback E-Tron (EV and PHEV versions), the R18 E-Tron Quattro racecar, an all-electric A2 E-Tron concept, an A6 L E-Tron PHEV that was shown off in Beijing and rumors of A4 and Q7 E-Tron Quattros. Then we had the E-Tron spyder concept and the city E-Tron concept, as well as news of an A5 E-Tron Quattro plug-in hybrid. And then there’s the A1 E-Tron plug-in hybrid that is being tested in Germany. Got all that?
Audi is finally getting ready to take the E-Tron name out of the movies and the auto show circuit and start putting plug-in cars in customer driveways. As it gears up for the launch of the first E-Tron – the A3 Sportback E-Tron, coming in 2014 – we flew to Berlin to find out what’s taken so long, and what’s coming next.
What on earth is Audi doing with E-Tron?