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Audi A1 e-tron range-extended vehicle to begin trials

Audi is finally walking the electric car walk with a fleet test of its A1 e-tron range-extended electric supermini.


Audi has been talking the electric car talk for years now, churning out concept after battery-powered concept like nobody's business. Now, however, it's begun walking the walk with a fleet test of its A1 e-tron range-extended electric supermini.

Twenty examples of the A1 e-tron will trundle around the streets of Munich. The project is intended to measure how well the part electric, part petrol-powered vehicle copes with life on roads designed primarily for cars powered by old dinosaur bones.

Joining the project will be power company E.ON and public utility firm Stadwerke Munchen, who between them will be responsible for expanding and maintaining an electric car charging infrastructure in the Munich metropolitan area.

We've seen countless electric car field trials over the years, most of which haven't progressed beyond the testing stage (Mini E and Smart ED, we're looking at you). That said, we've plenty of confidence the A1 e-tron will fare well.

The car can run for the first 31 miles of a trip on electric power alone thanks to its lithium-ion battery pack, a range that should be sufficient for most city journeys. Should drivers wish to go further, the car also features a range extender -- a small combustion engine that recharges the battery as required, to boost the vehicle's range to up to 155 miles in total.

That's not very far, admittedly, but those who need to travel further can simply drive the thing to a petrol station, squirt in some mashed-up dino juice and be on their merry way again.

Every participant in the A1 e-tron field trial will be given a mobile phone app that helps document their driving habits. Once the trial is complete, the data will collated to help Audi analyse whether the A1 e-tron, and any other vehicles using its futuristic propulsion system, is worthy of general release.