A hybrid Audi A3 is being developed as part of the VW TwinDrive programme that will also create a hybrid Golf.
The hybrid A3 will use a 105bhp 1.6-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine with a 30kW electric motor to drive the front wheels, and two 30kW in-wheel motors powering the rear wheels. This essentially gives the car four-wheel drive, albeit for short distances only.
The motors are powered by a battery pack and energy from regenerative braking. That battery is a 12kWh lithium ion unit mounted in the floor of the boot, and it can be charged via the mains.
In the Golf, TwinDrive can power the car on electricity alone for 31 miles, with a top speed of 75mph. Overall consumption, with diesel and electric motors operating, is said to be “over 113mpg”, while top speed extends to 106mph.
Audi has not yet committed itself to an on-sale date for the A3 TwinDrive, but insiders hint at fleet trials from 2012 onwards.