Next-gen Audi A3 to be Electric-only ‘Audi E3’ e-tron model: Report [Update]

  • Poised to be Audi's cheapest EV worldwide; company has no plans to go below the A3 segment with EVs
  • Sportback (hatchback) model could compete with the MINI Cooper Electric
  • Expected to deliver a range of 300-400 miles as per WLTP
  • Is reportedly planned on the next-gen SSP architecture

Update: ‘Platform’ section and ‘Range & Performance’ sub-section of ‘Specifications’ updated.

Audi plans to only launch pure electric models from 2026. Some of the brand’s next-generation cars will be electric-only to cater to the rising adoption of zero-emissions vehicles in key markets like the USA, Europe, and China.

While Volkswagen will introduce the next generation Golf with an internal combustion engine, its sister model, the Audi A3, is going entirely electric. A report Automobilwoche published on June 18, 2021, states that the Audi A3 “will no longer have a successor as a combustion engine.” As Audi did for the combustion-engined A3, it will leverage Volkswagen Group’s extensive pool of resources for the car’s electric successor.

According to an auto motor und sport report dated May 5, 2022, the next-gen Audi A3 would be an electric-only e-tron model. The electric successor could arrive as Audi E3.

Audi A3 electric successor confirmation

During Audi’s 2023 Annual Media Conference on March 16, 2023, CEO Markus Duesmann said that the company plans to offer an EV in all the segments in which it is present. Further, Duesmann confirmed the launch of an electric car positioned below the Q4 e-tron.

By 2027, we seek to offer an all-electric vehicle in each core segment in our portfolio. According to the current product planning, we will then have a line-up of over 20 electric models. So, within the next five years, we will be significantly expanding our e-portfolio. As part of these efforts, we recently decided to launch an additional electric entry-level model below the Audi Q4 e-tron as well.

Markus Duesmann, CEO, Audi (2023 Annual Media Conference on March 16, 2023)

Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council of Audi, revealed during an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine on December 17, 2021, that an electric Audi A3 is in the pipeline, according to Der Spiegel. Mosch added that the company would begin manufacturing the “electric successors to the current A3 and A4” at the Ingolstadt factory in Germany by 2029. The Ingolstadt plant would start EV operations with the Audi Q6 e-tron this year, followed by the Audi E6 (Audi A6 e-tron).

Audi A3 e-tron/Audi E3 to be the entry-point to the range

2021 Audi A3 Sportback 2021 Audi A3 Sedan
Audi presented the fourth-gen A3 family in early 2020. It could be around 2028 before the Audi E3 is available. Image Source: Audi

At the start of 2022, Audi announced that the A1 would be discontinued and the current generation of the Q2 would be its last, hinting that more premium Audi models would be the entry point to the brand. During the 2022 Audi Annual Media Conference, Auto Express asked Duesmann about the A3’s electric successor and the future entry-point to the Audi range. Here’s what Duesmann said:

Let me say that we are many brands in the corporate group. We are four brands that represent the volume segment in an excellent way. Audi will strengthen the upper range. When it comes to the entry level, I can commit that the A3 or its successor will probably be the entry level.

Markus Duesmann, CEO, Audi (Audi Annual Media Conference in March 2022)


Audi A3 e-tron (Audi E3 or Audi A3 Electric) rendering
The Audi E3 could feature certain design elements inspired by the Audi sphere and the A6 e-tron concepts, as shown in our render.

Audi hasn’t revealed details about the E3’s design and we haven’t seen prototypes on test yet. However, some design elements can be expected from recent Audi concepts. As previewed in our rendering, the Audi E3 could have split headlights, a feature that’s trending particularly in China, which could be a crucial market for the model. Expect wedge-shaped positioning lights on the top and the low and high beams to be in a separate, rectangular housing above the side air intakes.

The Singleframe grille may not be necessary, but given that it’s an unmistakable signature of the four-ringed brand, there’s no doubt it would dominate the face of all future Audi EVs, with adaptations. On the E3, we have shown a white octagonal piece with concave hexagonal inserts. A deep air intake below cools the drivetrain, brakes, and battery pack, and it features “e-tron” inscription in the center. On the sides, our render features camera-based virtual mirrors and large aero wheels.


Volkswagen Group SSP modules
The VW Trinity project will use the group’s next-generation Scalable Systems Platform that will be highly software based. Could the Audi A3 electric adopt the same architecture? Image: VW Group

On March 23, 2022, auto motor und sport reported that Audi E3 is the internal name of the Audi A3 e-tron hatchback. The report added that the E3 would have links to the VW Project Trinity, the brand’s sporty EV with “high range, extremely short charging times, and revolutionary production (techniques),” arriving in the second half of the decade.

According to an Autocar report dated March 16, 2023, the A3 e-tron (or whatever Audi ends up calling the A3 electric successor) will sit on the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which means that fans can expect unified battery cells, a new electronic architecture, and a new OS. In fact, Duesmann has already confirmed unified format for the battery cells for SSP-based EVs, as per the report.

SSP will be a highly modern and digitized architecture for future VW Group vehicles, but reportedly, the SSP is running behind schedule, with the revised ETA in 2027. The Autocar report says the new platform will allow a lower floor height, which should translate to increased seating comfort for passengers. It’ll give Volkswagen Group brands greater modularity, too, letting them differentiate technically similar cars to a greater degree.


Range & Performance

According to the Autocar report, the Audi A3 e-tron will be available in single-motor RWD and dual-motor AWD variants. There’s no word on the output figures, but the range will include an Audi RS 3 e-tron, which could have a sub-3.8-second 0-62 mph acceleration time. The most range-focused variant could travel around 400 miles (WLTP) on a full charge.

With an 800-volt operating voltage, we expect support for a high-level DC charging input of around 270 kW. 10-80% rapid charging could be a matter of just around 20 minutes. Charging the battery pack to a level that is enough to cover a distance of 80 miles may take just ten minutes.

Body styles

The A3 e-tron will come in five-door hatchback and four-door sedan versions, but we only expect the latter in the U.S. market. The Autocar report says that the next-gen A3 will be bigger than the current A3 in both versions.

For reference, the U.S.-spec current A3 Sedan measures 176.9 inches in length, 71.5 inches in width, and 56.2 inches in height. The current S3 Sedan has the same width, but its length and height are 177.3 inches and 55.7 inches, respectively. The current RS 3 Sedan has the same width, too, but is even longer and lower, measuring 178.8 inches in length and 55.6 inches in height. The standard car’s wheelbase measures 103.5 inches, while the performance cars share a slightly longer, 103.6-inch wheelbase.

Autocar’s sources who have knowledge of the early design proposals say that the designers working on the next-gen A3 have taken full advantage of the SSP’s packaging solutions. Thus, the future model will have different proportions. Expect an extended wheelbase providing improved cabin space and shorter overhangs, a lower and shorter hood line, and larger wheelhouses paving way for sporty styling.

Production & Release Date

According to the auto motor und sport report dated May 5, 2022, the Audi A3 electric successor will arrive in 2027. Audi should offer the electric A3 in multiple body styles for a wide appeal.

Audi A3 sales

Demand for the Audi A3 is growing globally. In 2022, Audi delivered 201,119 units of the A3 worldwide, 12.1% higher than in 2021 (179,399 units). The compact car ranked fourth on its sales chart for the calendar year.

The A3 isn’t a popular Audi in the U.S., but there is potential. Its sales were up 179% in the last quarter of 2022 from the same period in 2021. However, with only 9,788 units delivered for the full year, the A3 was far behind core Audi models, including its SUV alternative, the Audi Q3 (25,066 units).

TopElectricSUV says

When it arrives eventually, the Audi E3 should be one of the most affordable electric luxury cars from the old continent. While it might be a bit more expensive to buy/lease than the gasoline-powered A3, the the low running costs should make it a sensible choice. Being available in Sportback (hatchback) and Sedan versions, it could suit customers in all hemispheres!

Audi A3 Electric/Audi E3 FAQs

When will Audi launch the next-gen A3?

The next-gen Audi A3 will be launched in the second half of the decade, purely as an electric vehicle line-up.

Which models will the Audi E3 compete with?

The Audi E3 could compete with a range of models, including the next-gen 2024 Mini Cooper Electric.

What is the expected Audi E3/A3 Electric price?

Audi could price the all-electric A3 at well under USD 40,000.

Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s render of the Audi A3 Electric (A3 e-tron).