Peter Anderson | Sep 20, 2012

Audi is trialling a new version of the A1 e-tron, this time with what the carmaker is calling a dual-mode hybrid powertrain.

The first A1 e-tron prototypes trundled around the streets of Munich with a boot-mounted range-extending rotary engine mated to an electric motor.

The program was axed, with Audi citing its lack of viability for production. This second run however is being partly-funded by the German government through its Schaufenster Elektromobilitat (Showcase Electric Vehicles) fund.

The rotary is gone, replaced in the new dual-mode hybrid system with a 1.5 litre triple, kicking out just on 97kW. Like the rotary, it is mounted under the boot floor - joining the R8 as a 'mid-engined' Audi.

The direct-injected turbocharged petrol engine is connected to a 51kW electric motor, one of two mounted at either end of the car.

The first electric motor doubles as a starter motor for the petrol engine, as well as being an alternator generator for recovering energy.

In this prototype, the first electric motor does not drive the wheels, but is engaged by a claw-clutch when in use.

The second, front-mounted electric motor is good for 86.5kW and drives the front wheels through a single-speed transmission.

The car can drive on battery power for up to 89km and then switch to petrol-electric to charge the 17.4kW/h lithium-ion batteries, which are positioned beneath the rear passenger seats.

When the accelerator hits the firewall, Audi says the A1 e-tron Mk 2 can accelerate to 100km/h in around nine seconds while returning 1l/100km.

The government funded prototype run should hit the road in early 2013.


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