Even though Audi was until recently a bit behind both BMW and Mercedes-Benz in terms of plug-in hybrids and road-going electric cars, the Ingolstadt manufacturer is now on the rebound. To make up for lost ground, Audi plans to roll-out a new plug-in hybrid model every year, albeit it oddly doesn’t mention the exact time period for the whole shebang. Apart from the e-tron-branded vehicles, the Audi is also working on purely electric cars to launch in the near future, confirming the recent rumor about an all-electric sports car and a crossover SUV running on nothing but batteries.

The above information was revealed at CES 2015, where strangely enough not a single plug-in hybrid or electric Audi concept car was in attendance, with the carmaker instead plugging its autonomous driving technology. Apart from developing an entire range of plug-in hybrid or fully-electric cars in the near future, Audi is also working hard to improve contactless charging for the aforementioned types of vehicles, with the greatest effort being placed into induction-based energy, something the German car manufacturer calls Audi Wireless Charging (AWC).

As the first plug-in hybrid vehicle from Audi was successfully-launched in 2014 in the shape of the A3 e-Tron model, the next road-going car using similar technology will apparently be part of the medium segment, although the carmaker declined to go into specifics. If I were to guess, Audi is probably talking about a plug-in hybrid 2016 Q7 to go on sale in 2015, even though I fail to see how that beast of an SUV could be ever considered as part of the "medium segment."

Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s future Plug-In Hybrid E-Tron models.

Why it matters

Until electric cars become part of the norm, all major car manufacturers are racing to provide a stop-gap technology that makes everyone at ease with vehicles that you have to charge form an electric socket. Plug-in hybrid technology is a perfect way to both prolong the sound and performance of internal combustion engines and make them compatible with a much greener future, especially in congested cities.

With that being said, the fact that Audi is also jumping on the plug-in hybrid bandwagon, joining both Mercedes-Benz and BMW in this small "crusade," can mean nothing but good things for everyone. The three will be forced to compete with each other more aggressively in the plug-in hybrid niche, which in turn should translate into better overall cars. Competition is always good.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

2013 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron High Resolution Exterior
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Press Release

Under the name e‑tron, Audi resolutely advances the electrification of the powertrain. One of many aspects in this is contactless charging of all- or part-electric e‑tron models. Audi is putting great effort into induction-based supply of energy, known as Audi wireless charging (AWC).

The brand has developed a power matrix offering numerous options so as to provide each customer with a solution filling his or her precise needs. Approaches range from a 48‑volt onboard network to plug-in hybrid powertrains. These marry the advantages of a combustion engine with those of electric traction, providing the customer with long range, power and efficiency all at the same time.

The launch of the A3 Sportback e‑tron* in 2014 was Audi’s successful entrance into plug‑in hybrid technology. This will now be swiftly rolled out across the model range, with the medium and top segment next in line. A new e‑tron model is set for introduction every year. At the same time, Audi is working on purely-electric vehicles with high-capacity batteries and powerful motors requiring no compromises in terms of range and usability.

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