With the start of the Geneva motor show just hours away, Audi just announced it will show a pair of environmentally friendly vehicles, its A1 e-tron and A8 hybrid.
While Audi is using the Geneva motor show to publicly unveil its new A1 compact, the automaker also is showing how its hatchback could utilize advanced powertrain technology. Audi announced today that the "e-tron" name will serve as the company's nom de plume for "electric mobility," similar to how the Quattro name signifies an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
The A1 e-tron shown here can travel up to 31 miles on electricity alone, but the show car is an extended-range electric vehicle, much like the Chevrolet Volt. A small Wankel rotary engine comes online to recharge the battery pack once it's depleted, giving the A1 e-tron an additional 124 miles of range.
"The strength of the electric car clearly lies in the urban mobility area, where the demand for emission-free local transportation will strongly increase," said Michael Dick, Audi's board member in charge of technical development.
Perhaps more suited to longer cruising is the hybrid form of Audi's latest A8 flagship. Engineers have combined the company's turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 with an electric motor in a parallel hybrid system. Audi says the driveline produces a net output of 245 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, while achieving 38 mpg on the European combined test cycle. In EV mode, the A8 Hybrid can reportedly reach speeds of up to 40 mph, and travel 1.2 miles before employing the gasoline engine.
Audi says both vehicles are simply design studies, but given the brand's push into eco-friendly technologies (its e-tron sports car will enter limited production in 2012), we wouldn't be surprised to see production variants reach the market in the near future.