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Audi testing the electric car market

Audi will begin its yearlong test of an all-electric A3 E-tron hatchback in four U.S. cities.

The all-electric Audi A3 E-tron.
The all-electric Audi A3 E-tron. Audi

To ready its upcoming fleet of plug-in and electric vehicles for the U.S. market, Audi announced, the company will begin testing a small fleet of electric A3 hatchbacks in different regions throughout the country.

The Audi A3 E-tron has 199 lb-ft torque, a battery range of approximately 90 miles, and a top speed of 90 mph. It looks nearly identical to its conventional gasoline-powered A3 counterpart, but under the hood you'll find an electric motor instead of a 2-liter gasoline or diesel engine. Powering the vehicle is a 26kWh lithium ion battery housed underneath the car, which means the battery pack won't occupy any of the five-seater's cargo space.

Field testing will be held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Washington, D.C., and will run for about 18 months. But don't get too excited about the prospects of a luxury compact EV--the A3 E-trons will be driven mostly by Audi technicians and engineers, who will provide feedback on vehicle performance to engineering headquarters in Germany.

The data generated will help refine the line of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that the car maker intends to produce in the near future. Audi is rumored to be planning to produce a plug-in version of the A4 sedan for the U.S. market in 2014.

(Via PR Newswire)