Audi to begin electric-car testing in U.S.

(February 27, 2012) — Audi today announced the battery-electric Audi A3 e-tron will be used is a pilot program in the U.S. to "define a progressive e-mobility driver experience for premium car buyers." Audi made the announcement of the A3 e-tron program at TED2012 in Long Beach, Calif., where Audi is presenting a vision for the role transportation will play in the world’s increasingly congested urban centers of the future.

Seventeen A3 e-Tron vehicles will be put on the road next month.

The A3 e-tron pilot program marks the first step by Audi into the expanding U.S. electric vehicle landscape, which is a central component of the discussion expected at the Audi Social Space at TED2012.

Audi will not make the A3 e-tron available to the public. The 17 battery cars will be distributed to corporate testers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Washington, D.C.

Adding a new electric dimension to driving performance, the Audi A3 e-tron pilot program will allow Audi to identify challenges and opportunities with plug-in vehicles as progressive luxury car buyers become increasingly receptive to EV technology.

Audi stressed that the research-based A3 e-tron pilot program will serve as a learning tool for next-gen Audi EV applications world wide

"By studying e-tron use across multiple geographical regions, Audi will monitor the effect of climate conditions, driving patterns and energy performance and use insight gained in the final development of future EV technology applications," Audi said in a press release.