Next-gen Audi A3 to be offered exclusively as an e-tron EV [Update]

Audi is accelerating its shift to EVs with a plan to end the rollout of new internal combustion engines by 2026. It is planning an electric-only future sooner than expected for some models, meaning that instead of releasing a pure electric variant, it will convert select models to EVs. These cars set to become electric-only models, as per a new Automobilwoche report, include the Audi A3.

VW MEB platform
The next-gen Audi A3 will likely sit on an upgraded version of the VW ID.3’s MEB platform. Image Source: Volkswagen

The report says that the Audi A3 “will no longer have a successor as a combustion engine.” Instead, the plan is to replace it with a pure electric model called the Audi A3 e-tron. The Audi A3 is a sister model of the VW Golf, and so, as long as the latter exists, it can remain under production cost-effectively. Volkswagen plans to continue the Golf for another generation, but Audi is charting a different course for the next-gen A3. However, that doesn’t mean that it no longer needs a Volkswagen model or architecture to piggyback on.

The next-gen Audi A3 e-tron (Audi sold a plug-in hybrid e-tron model in the third generation) will likely borrow the MEB platform from the VW ID.3. The RWD/AWD bespoke EV platform is likely to receive substantial changes before the time comes to use it for the fifth-gen Audi A3 family. Andreas Kruger, Head of E-Mobility Series, Volkswagen Group, has confirmed that a significant upgrade for the MEB platform is coming.

Audi MEB models which could include Audi A3 Electric
Audi may not switch to the PPE platform for the next-gen A3 family, but it is reported that a significant upgrade is coming to the MEB architecture for cheaper VW Group models. Image: Audi

Currently, we know from the VW ID.3 Pro S that a range of up to 550 km (WLTP) is possible with the MEB platform. According to a report from Business Insider, Kruger has said that Volkswagen Group’s goal is to increase the range possible with the MEB platform to 700 km. In addition, the company is also considering increasing the charging capacity from 125 kW to 250 kW to reduce the wait time significantly.

Moreover, it wants to add bidirectional charging capability, which is a prerequisite for the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) and Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) applications. Bidirectional charging would also allow customers to charge other EVs with their cars. Thus, a lot could change on the MEB platform before the all-electric next-gen Audi A3 e-tron enters the market.

Connection with VW Trinity & Audi Apollon projects

According to a report from auto motor und sport, ‘Audi E3’ is the internal name of the fifth-gen Audi A3 (e-tron) hatchback. The report suggests that the next-gen model may have technical commonalities with the Project Trinity, Volkswagen’s groundbreaking flat, sporty sedan with “high range, extremely short charging times, and revolutionary production (techniques),” due in 2026. Audi has confirmed a sister model of the VW Project Trinity – the Audi Apollon (also a project name), and it may use learnings and elements from the same model for the next-gen A3.

The all-new A3 models could be a highly digital, largely software-based car that allows customers to enable many new features on-demand at any point during the period of ownership. The vehicle’s hardware a customer configures when ordering it will no longer determine a final configuration as such in the future.

Next-gen Audi A3 Electric expected around 2026

The fourth-gen Audi A3 debuted in the Sportback (hatchback) version in March 2020, and then the Sedan version quickly followed a month later. We doubt the next-gen Audi A3 would see the light of the day anytime before 2026, but it’s good to know that planning has already begun to shift it to an electric car series.

2021 Audi A3 Sportback 2021 Audi A3 Sedan
Audi presented the fourth-gen A3 family in early 2020, and so, it may not introduce the all-electric next-gen A3 before 2026. Image Source: Audi

Audi plans to offer 40% of new models with a pure electric powertrain from 2025 and expand the EV line-up to more than 20 models. Its main long-term goal is to sell ~19 million MEB EVs and ~7 million PPE EVs such as the Audi A6 e-tron and Audi Q6 e-tron by 2030.

When will Audi launch the next-gen A3?

The next-gen Audi A3 may debut around 2026.

Which models will the next-gen Audi A3 compete with?

The next-gen Audi A3 may compete with the rumoured Tesla Model 2

Featured Image Source: Audi