News from across the pond: “Before the end of 2013, the Audi A3 E-tron will enter Audi’s production cycle, and will launch in Europe in late 2013 or early 2014. Then in mid-2014, the A3 E-tron makes it over to the US.
Following the US launch of the E-tron, the vehicle will make its way to Australia in preparation for sales there.
Car Advice is reporting that “Audi Australia has placed pricing submissions in with Germany to get the Audi A3 E-tron” into Australia in 2014.
Audi Australia’s managing director, Andrew Doyle, isn’t yet sure of the timing of the Australian launch for the A3 E-tron, but says the delay shouldn’t be much behind the regular A3′s launch.
The A3 E-tron price is set around €38,000 ($49,000 USD) in most of Europe, but it will likely be more expensive in Australia in order to compete with the Holden Volt, which is priced at nearly $60,000 AUD. The Audi A3 E-tron will undercut the Holden Volt slightly.”
Electric car buyers to be offered free petrol-powered rental car for longer trips.
BMW has taken the unusual step of offering free petrol-powered loan vehicles to buyers of its i3 city car, in an attempt to curtail range anxiety issues.
The German brand is developing a global rental program which will be rolled out when the i3 goes on sale early next year.
BMW says the complimentary loan vehicles will be included in the price of the i3 – a ploy discussed but yet to be confirmed by the Australian operation – and will typically be required for the 10 per cent of trips that go beyond the EV’s battery-only range.
A spokeswoman for BMW Australia, Lenore Taylor, told Drive the initiative was aimed at making EV cars more appealing to buyers.
“This is something the group is working through at the moment,” Taylor said.
“It isn’t finalised or confirmed yet but it’s one of the initiatives the group is looking at.”
Electric vehicles have been met with resistance in Australia, partly because of range limitations on longer trips. The i3 has an electric range of 150km.
Mitsubishi has slowed down importation of its i-MiEV to a supply and demand basis because of trickling sales, and Nissan has heavily reduced the price of its Leaf EV in a bid to promote more interest.
Nissan in the United States also offers a rental scheme for owners of its Leaf electric car.
The i3 will be powered by a 125kW/250Nm electric motor driving the rear wheels through a fixed-gear transmission.
BMW is also offering the i3 with an optional two-cylinder petrol scooter engine, which will double the EV’s range to more than 300km. The engine will be a modified version of BMW’s C-650 scooter unit, and is expected to cost roughly $4000.
The BMW i3 is due to go on sale locally in the first quarter of 2014.