Audi’s first plug-in electric hybrid car – the A3 Sportback e-tron – might go on sale in South Africa in 2016. This is what Audi SA says. We believe it definitely will happen. The car was shown for the first time last week and we have many of its details and what makes it tick.

2015 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron 2

Based on the 1.4-litre TFSI engine that produces 110kW on its own, the A3 e-tron then pairs said TFSI with a 75kW electric motor to produce a total system output of 150kW and 350Nm of torque. A new 6-speed S tronic double-clutch gearbox completes the powertrain. What’s really fascinating about this car is that Audi claims an incredible average fuel consumption of 1.5 litres per 100km on it! Incredible because if these claims are true, the A3 Sportback e-tron will travel for over 3 000km on one full tank. Imagine that!

2015 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron 5

On top of that, Audi reckons you can get about 50km from the pure electric element, which means for 50km you can drive on electricity alone, never even touching the petrol tank. Now if you live in Pretoria and work in Jozi, we imagine you’d basically be driving for “free” in inverted commas because you’d only be paying Eskom to recharge your car.

2015 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron 4

The recharge function takes about two hours from an industrial charger. We don’t have that many of these chargers in Mzansi yet, although a buyer would typically be provided with a home/ office charger kit consisting of a control unit with graphical display, a car cable and two power cables with the household and typically-Mzansi three-point industrial plugs.

2015 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron 3

Otherwise the car looks – apart from a few bits like missing exhaust pipes and that recharger link up on the front grille – pretty much like any other A3 Sportback. It sits about five people including the driver, takes up 280 litres of boot space, weighs some 1 540kg on the scale, does 0 – 100km/h in just 7.6 seconds, plus a top speed of 222km/h.

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