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The Last Audi A3 Plug-in Hybrid Concept Before Production Starts

lectric vehicle and plug-in hybrid prototypes are not exactly new at Volkswagen. There have been so many of them over the years—at motor shows, demonstrations, and media events in many different countries. But the only place where nobody has seen a plug-in Volkswagen is at a VW dealership. That’s about to change.

It can change now because the MQB platform has been launched. That was one of the biggest news stories last year. Car manufacturers have been sharing chassis and engines for years—the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird may be the most famous example—but Volkswagen’s going one step further with its MQB. The Modularer Querbaukasten (Modular Transversal Matrix) will allow Volkswagen to build the Golf (a compact) and the Passat (a sedan) out of the same parts, in the same factory. The modular platform is also incredibly accommodating when it comes to power and drive systems. It’s now much easier, and less costly, to build electrics, hybrids or even natural gas versions with their big bulky tanks.
Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid

Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid

The VW Golf and the Audi A3 are both built on the MQB platform. A production version of an electric Golf has already been green-lighted—the e-Golf should appear later this year in Europe. And now here’s a plug-in hybrid from Audi, with the same gas-electric plug-in technology eventually finding its way into a Volkswagen model. It carries again the e-tron moniker, but this is a bit confusing as we’ve seen that name on EVs and plug-in hybrid prototypes. Let’s hope the group will decide to clear up the nomenclature before the cars are brought to market. There’s still time for this task, as this A3 e-tron is again a concept. (It’s very, very close to a production model but it isn’t one quite yet.)
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