Audi A1 e-tron design study live in Geneva. Photos © United Pictures, Int'l.Enlarge Photo
Audi has been one of those manufacturers that haven’t quite committed to the hybrid market, but has warmed up to the idea over the last nine-to-twelve months. The newest news out of the Audi camp is the unveiling of the latest Audi A1 e-tron concept. The first version of the e-tron concept appeared at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show in the form of a supercar and showcased a four-motor electric drive system that was said to be capable of 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds. In contrast, the newest version of the Audi e-tron concept comes in the form of the compact A1 and this time is intended to showcase “that Audi's expertise in electric drive systems extends down into the compact car segment.”
The Audi A1 e-tron is equipped with both an electric and gasoline motor, but it has a twist. The new A1 e-tron has a single-rotor engine that is hooked up to a generator that puts out an estimated 20 hp. The concept is much like that of the soon to be announced 2011 Chevrolet Volt where in this case a rotary engine is used for the range extending component. The electric motor is supposed to power the A1 e-tron for a total range of about 31 miles. Then the range extending rotary engine would start and engage the generator allowing the vehicle to continue for another 124 miles.
Bottom line—using different technology to achieve similar concepts will prove out the best way to produce a hybrid electric vehicle. The only question that remains is who will find the winning combination first?
Check out more details on the Audi A1 e-tron over at MotorAuthority.com and be sure to check out the full coverage of the Geneva Motor Show over at our partner site, TheCarConnection.com.