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Audi E-tron tipped to cost over $120K

Tron 2.0: Although the A3 e-tron (left) has been discontinued due to slow sales, Audi Australia recognises it as a success in introducing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to market.

A3 e-tron hatchback discontinued as Audi Australia focuses on electrified SUVs

Audi logo2 Apr 2018

By DANIEL DeGASPERI

AUDI Australia has discontinued its A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) due to low interest, and will focus its battery-powered offerings around the Q7 e-tron and stand-alone E-tron SUV.

However, the Q7 e-tron SUV – priced from $139,900 plus on-road costs – uses a diesel PHEV drivetrain and will not target the pure-EV Tesla Model X or the Jaguar I-Pace, the latter of which will arrive this year from $119,900.

That will be the job of the as-yet unreleased E-tron, previewed at last month’s Geneva motor show, which is set to place its own sportier spin on the large SUV segment.

Due to its large size however, GoAuto understands the E-Tron will command a price premium above the medium-sized Jaguar – meaning $120K-plus and potentially more than the Q7 e-tron’s $140K figure.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the R8 RWS at Phillip Island last week, Audi Australia product senior executive Matthew Dale would not confirm the positioning of the E-tron – however he indicated that the emissions-free model could be positioned away from the I-Pace.

“The E-tron … whether or not our product sits at that price ($120K) it really depends on what the packaging is,” he told GoAuto.

“(But) our vehicle will be positioned competitively. Our job is to look at the market, look at its competitors, and position the product accordingly.

“I think it will really tick the boxes for those particular customers that are after early adoption of electric technology and what that has to offer.”

Mr Dale further declared that although the short-lived A3 e-tron was a “success”, it would not be returned to the Australian market.

“The A3 e-tron … it was the first e-tron we produced that was quite successful given our volume aspirations for the car,” he said.

“We sold over 130 units in Australia, which was quite good for (a) product that was a plug-in hybrid. It was definitely, in our eyes, a success.

“(But) that was our first stage … it was A3 e-tron, and then second to that Q7 e-tron, and then third, the next step … that is all battery electric vehicles.

“So we started off with a plug-in hybrid in a sports-hatchback design for the inner city living, and then moved to an SUV, still maintaining that SUV body style, but offering full battery electric vehicle technology. That’s the next step of where we’re going.”

However, another reason the Q7 E-Tron would be imported is down to the popularity of the SUV segment, according to Audi Australia corporate communications manager Shaun Cleary who further added the market for an EV version of a small hatchback was not as lucrative Down Under.

“We see the market at the moment for that kind of car (EV) isn’t at that end (small hatchback) of the range,” he said.

“Our first full-battery vehicle is going to be the E-tron, which is obviously the SUV … so there’s the Q7 e-tron as well, plus the E-tron Sportback.”

The A3 e-tron was priced from $62,490 and combined an 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to claim a 7.6-second 0-100km/h and 1.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

Launching this month, the Q7 E-Tron provides a total of 275kW/700Nm with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, electric motor and 17.3kWh battery pack combination claiming a 6.2s 0-100km/h and consumption 1.9L/100km.

Audi has said the E-tron SUV will be built at a carbon-neutral production facility in Brussels, Belgium, from the end of 2018.

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