Audi just took its first step into the expanding U.S. electric vehicle landscape by launching a pilot program for the hotly anticipated battery-electric Audi A3 e-tron. The A3 e-tron pilot program will help Audi identify challenges and opportunities with plug-in vehicles as luxury car buyers become more receptive to EV technology. The program will be a major component of the discussion at the Audi Social Space at TED2012, where the automaker intends to spark a progressive dialogue about the role transportation will play in the global megacities of the future.

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The A3 e-tron pilot program will take place the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver markets, and it will monitor the effects of climate conditions, driving patterns and energy performance. The company will then use insight gained in the final development of future EV technology.

The Audi A3 e-tron is based on the current Audi A3 and is powered by an electric powertrain with a 26kw lithium-ion battery. Audi claims that the A3 e-tron has a range of approximately 90 miles and a top speed of 90 mph.

“The A3 e-tron pilot program serves as an important innovation platform for Audi to develop greater insight into electric vehicles and how American driving conditions affect use of the progressive technology in everyday life,” said Jeff Curry, e-mobility and sustainability strategy lead at Audi of America.

+ Audi