Audi to Begin Fleet Trials of A1 e-tron Electric Supermini

Just six months after the presentation of the A1 e-tron concept car at the Geneva Salon this past March, and Audi has announced plans to begin fleet testing of it extended range electric premium hatchback.

The Ingolstadt-based automaker said that by the middle of next year, 20 examples of the A1 e-tron will take to the streets of Munich as part of a pilot project undertaken by Audi AG in partnership with E.ON, the Munich municipal utility company Stadtwerke M√ľnchen (SWM) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

Approximately 200 new charging stations will be installed throughout the Munich city area, including private garages or parking garages. Audi claims all of the charging stations will be supplied with electricity generated from renewable energies.

The goal is to enable experts to address a number of issues ranging from the data transfer between the driver, vehicle and electric filling station to the power grid, to the use of smartphones as the central interface for the driver.

Audi's answer to the BMW Group's MINI-E features a similar setup with the range-extending EV Chevrolet Volt making use of an electric motor to drive the front wheels and a small single-rotor Wankel engine that recharges the lithium-ion battery when its energy is depleted.

The electric motor delivers an output equivalent to 102-horsepower allowing the A1 e-tron to reach a top speed of 130km/h (81mph). The car is said to have a driving range of around 50 kilometers or 31 miles on a fresh charge.

If the range extender Wankel engine is used to recharge the battery, the A1 e-tron can cover an additional 200 kilometers or 124 miles of range. Audi says that according to a draft standard for the computation of fuel consumption for range extender vehicles, this represents a fuel consumption of 1.9 l/100 km (124mpg) with a CO2 equivalent of 45 g/km (72.42 g/mile).

"We are trying to find a concept that requires no compromises," says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, who continues, "Electromobility means more to us than just electrifying conventional cars. Instead we are dedicated to a holistic approach to all aspects of the topic. We hope that this fleet trial will enable us to gain broad insights into the behaviour but also the expectations of our customers regarding their dealings with electric cars. Of course, the data that we will collect are another aspect. This market and technology feedback will enable us to further expand our expertise in electrification."