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It has been confirmed that the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron will reach volume production before the end of this year, becoming the first premium compact vehicle with plug-in hybrid technology. It joins the Audi e-gas and natural gas-consuming A3 Sportback g-tron in paving the way for CO2-neutral long-distance mobility.

The A3 e-tron uses a 1.4 litre TFSI petrol engine working in tandem with an electric motor to form a parallel driveline, using a newly developed six-speed e-S tronic transmission (dual-clutch ‘box specific for plug-in hybrid use). An 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery placed ahead of the rear axle can provide full electric drive for up to 50 km with zero emissions.

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Combined system output is rated at 204 hp and 350 Nm, enabling it to reach 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 222 km/h. Full range with both electric and petrol engine in use is 940 km, with an average fuel consumption of just 1.5 litres of per 100 km (measured in accordance with the ECE standard).

Audi has released a large collection of diagrams explaining the technology behind the e-tron’s plug-in drivetrain. Take your time going through it – it’s really quite interesting. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February and will go on sale in selected markets from the end of 2013.