2010 Audi e-tron Spyder Concept live photosEnlarge Photo
If you're confused when someone says "Audi e-tron," and you're not sure which electric car it means, don't feel bad--we're confused too.
Audi may have more branded electric car concepts, prototypes, test vehicles, limited-production cars, and planned volume-production plug-in electric models than any other maker in the world.
The company has chopped and changed its plug-in lineup several times over the past few years, making it difficult to keep track. Some models have been postponed, others dropped, and others introduced.
Below is our full guide to all the e-tron models--plus the natural gas A3 g-tron--so you can keep track of Audi's increasing low-emission range.
Audi e-tron city car
2014 Volkswagen e-Up electric minicarEnlarge Photo
Previously, the A1 e-tron was Audi's smallest e-tron model--but another looks to be on the way.
It could actually be more powerful and offer more range too--while the regular e-Up gets 93 miles of range, Audi is said to be aiming for 124 miles with its own variant. With 116 horsepower, it will even offer sub-10 second 0-62 mph times.
Unfortunately it's unlikely such a thing will reach the U.S, since the Up hasn't been federalized for safety standards.
Audi A1 e-tron
Audi A1 e-tron ConceptEnlarge Photo
The A1 e-tron Concept, first shown as a concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, is in many ways our favorite of all the e-trons, mostly for its ultra-cool range extender.
The battery electric subcompact uses a fist-sized Wankel rotary engine under the rear deck to generate electricity that powers the electric motor driving the front wheels, once the battery pack has been depleted.
A test fleet of 20 Audi A1 e-trons has been operating in Munich and elsewhere, gathering data on travel times, battery use, charging behavior, and how often the range extenders comes into use.Recent reports indicated that the A1 e-tron had been canceled, but the project is believed to be back underway--albeit without the wankel range extenderthat made it so special in the first place.
Audi A2 Concept, Frankfurt Motor Show, September 2011Enlarge Photo
The Audi A2 Concept was unveiled in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it's the only dedicated body and chassis among all the e-trons. The rest are derived--though in some cases with quite major adaptations--from production gasoline cars.
The A2, intended to be a direct competitor for the upcoming all-electric BMW i3 (which will offer an optional range extender as well), is not as adventurous a design as the i3, which has a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic body atop an aluminum platform with the battery pack in the floorpan.
Like the A1 e-tron though, the all-electric A2 may be put on ice. In fact, we've heard very little about the Audi A2 at all since Frankfurt 2011--if the company is working on something, it isn't giving much away.