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Audi A3 E-tron on the road (pictures)

Driving a prototype Audi A3 E-tron electric car, CNET found a vehicle that seems production-ready.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 7 Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Audi developed the E-tron brand for its electrification efforts, which extend from pure electric cars, such as this A3 E-tron, to its R18 hybrid race car, which took Le Mans by storm this year.
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The electric drivetrain in the A3 E-tron consists of an electric motor driving the car's front wheels, power-control electronics, an inverter, chargers, a single-gear reduction transmission, and a 26.5-kilowatt-hour battery pack.
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The charging port is a standard J1772 receptor, so could be plugged into any standard charging station. Audi says that, from a 220-volt source, the A3 E-tron takes 7 to 8 hours to charge.
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Audi fits the A3 E-tron with custom wheels, but the real win for Californians is the white sticker, giving it access to HOV lanes.
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The cabin is little changed from a standard A3. The battery pack does not intrude into the passenger space.
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Audi changed the gauges slightly, replacing the tachometer with a power usage gauge. Instead of a fuel gauge, the instrument cluster's two smaller gauges show battery level and remaining range, data that can also be seen on the instrument cluster's LCD.
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The shifter includes a B mode with Drive, Reverse, Neutral, and Park. B maximizes the regenerative braking in the car.

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