Audi is showing an all electric version of its A1 minicar at Geneva, but this one has a novel twist. Like the Chevy Volt, it’s battery powered and uses a gasoline motor to recharge the batteries; unlike the Volt, or any other electric car to date, the A1 e-tron concept uses a Wankel motor to produce the charge. More after the jump.
Why a Wankel rotary motor? Because they’re compact, light weight and produce outstanding power for their size. The rotary used in the A1 e-tron weighs just 154 pounds and is small enough to fit below the A1’s cargo floor.
The Wankel / battery combination will produce reasonable performance, with 0 to 60 times in the 10 second range. Battery only range is expected to be around 30 miles, with the rotary motor providing an additional 100 miles of range. Range could probably be increased by incorporating a larger fuel tank, as the one in the concept e-tron holds just over 3 gallons.