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Audi testing A1 e-tron on Munich streets

Audi began testing 20 examples of its A1 e-tron city car in Munich this week. This trial run for the electric car with range extending gas engine will help Audi evaluate the future usability of the car.

Audi A1 e-tron
Audi lined up A1 e-tron models to kick off its Munich-based testing. Audi

With a powertrain configuration similar to that of the Chevy Volt, Audi's A1 e-tron represents a step towards a full electric car from the German automaker.

If you are strolling the streets of Munich any time soon, you may be treated to the sight of the quiet running Audi A1 e-tron. Audi began a testing program this week, putting 20 of the advanced powertrain cars on the road.

The A1 is Audi's new, compact city car. The e-tron version uses a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor producing 101 horsepower to drive the front wheels. Under electric power, it has a range of 31 miles.

Similar to the Chevy Volt, the A1 e-tron also has a gas engine that works as an onboard generator. It gives the car a total range of 155 miles.

Audi cites an equivalent fuel economy of 148 mpg with the A1 e-tron. But that mileage will vary considerably depending on how frequently the car is recharged and driven under battery power. As part of the test, the power company E.ON and the public utility Stadtwerke München installed recharging infrastructure around the city.

Audi will use the trial to evaluate the car, the charging infrastructure, and driver's usage habits. At this time, Audi has not announced a production date for the A1 e-tron.