Malcolm Flynn | Apr 24, 2012

Audi has chosen Beijing to lift the wraps off its A6 L e-tron concept, previewing its upcoming plug-in hybrid technology in a luxury sedan for the first time.

Based on the Chinese-market A6 L long-wheelbase model, the concept uses a hybrid drivetrain similar to the Q5, A6 and A8 Hybrid models already found in some markets.

However, the e-tron concept adds a more powerful electric motor, along with e-tron qualifying plug-in hybrid technology.

The concept’s plug-in battery unit enables it to travel up to 80km at a constant speed of 60km/h in pure electric mode. This compares with just 3km for existing non-plug-in Audi Hybrid models.

Using a 155kw 2.0 litre TFSI petrol motor and 70kW electric motor, the A6 L e-tron concept was designed to combine its e-tron green credentials with performance when needed.

The system’s liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery cell is housed in a collision protected space in the rear of the vehicle.

As with Audi’s production hybrid models, the A6 L e-tron’s hybrid system is capable of using each power source independently, or combining the two under heavy acceleration.

Electricity is recovered under deceleration, but the plug-in system can also be brimmed by connecting to mains power.

The Beijing Auto Show is the logical place to unveil such a model, as the locally produced A6 L is Audi’s best selling model in the booming Chinese market.

The e-tron concept’s styling is pure A6 L, but with now characteristic e-tron front and rear facias and 21 inch multispoke wheels.

Audi has not commented on any production plans for the A6 L e-tron concept, but its use of production componentry combined with ‘coming soon’ plug-in technology suggests that a roadgoing A6 L e-tron could be feasible.

The first volume production e-tron model is expected in 2014 and based on the new A3, but Audi has committed to a limited release of the all-electric R8 e-tron model before the end of 2012.


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