Recently, Ed Kim, AutoPacific’s Director of Industry Analysis, was given a sneak peek at the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in electric. Earlier this week, Ed’s impressions were prominently featured in Audi’s featurette about the car. This video was released in conjunction with the automaker’s official announcement about the A3 e-tron’s U.S. test program at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach, CA.
The A3 e-tron will be distributed in select markets in the U.S. to help Audi get real world data about how electric vehicles are used in everyday life, ultimately aiding in the development of future plug-in vehicles from Audi.
Audi, rightly so in our opinion, believes there is no one silver bullet in the quest for greater efficiency. As such, the automaker is exploring just about every available alternative powertrain technology out there as potential components of a greater solution. Those can include electrics, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, diesels, or even very efficient gasoline engines.
Watch below to see Audi’s A3 e-tron in action, and Ed’s thoughts on some of the issues surrounding electric vehicles.
Mitsubishi has been on something of a downturn over the last few years, even more so than most of the automakers during this recession. Aging model lines and relatively little marketing have reduced the brand’s visibility over the years despite some exciting turbocharged and all wheel drive products, in stark contrast to Mitsubishi’s relatively high profile at the turn of the century due to extroverted products, catchy commercials, and creative financing.
Without question, one of the most buzzworthy topics surrounding automobiles this year has been plug-in cars. Issues like fuel price instability, dependence on foreign oil (or oil of any sort!), and the environment have stirred the imaginations of many people. Could we really rid ourselves of oil-powered transportation? Could America really free itself of its addiction? At the very end of last year, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf went on sale (retailing at $41,000 and $32,780, respectively, minus a $7,500 Federal tax credit), finally bringing plug-in transportation to the masses and, plug-in fans hope, heralding a new era in automotive history.
I’m at Toyota’s third Sustainable Mobility Seminar at the moment, a deep dive into the issues surrounding sustainable motoring featuring excellent speakers from industry and academia. I’ll admit, my head is still spinning from all the education I’ve received over the last twenty-four hours, but there’s one part of the event I feel compelled to write about – right now. All of us in attendance got the media’s very first chance to drive fully working prototypes of Toyota’s upcoming fully electric RAV4 EV. As AutoPacific’s resident treehugger, I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of Toyota’s upcoming electric SUV.
Nissan has today announced U.S. LEAF pricing. On the eve of the New York show, they have successfully caused a near-unanimous “WOW” across the industry with an amazingly low price for high-technology system. Profit per vehicle is not something automakers are happy to talk about in any situation, but the expectation is that Nissan may not make any profit on the LEAF for many, many years. Still, the combination of an affordable price and the years of deep legwork Nissan has done in preparing consumers and communities for the product, the LEAF is the biggest step yet in advancing the cause of electric vehicles. What does this mean for the success of LEAF? Here’s my first reaction…
$32,380 ($25,280 after $7500 Federal tax credit)
$349/month for 36-month lease (Nissan takes the credit to enable that price)
$2200–AeroVironment home-charging dock and installation (also eligible for tax credit)
$99 Registration fee, refundable (www.nissanusa.com)