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Audi A3 g-tron pre-sales begin, putting Audi e-gas plant to use

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Audi A3 g-tron Sportback press photo

The Audi A3 g-tron, seen here in Sportback body style, went on advance sale in Audi’s home country of Germany this week. If fueled with pure Audi e-gas — a synthetic natural gas developed by the automaker — Audi said the car can travel CO2-neutral. (Photo courtesy Audi)

The Audi A3 g-tron, the German automaker’s foray into cars that run on synthetic natural gas, began advance sales this week in Germany.

As a German friend of mine said, “CNG is hard to beat from a cost perspective.” The Audi A3 g-tron will run on compressed natural gas, on Audi’s synthetic natural gas known as e-gas, or even on gasoline. According to Audi, refueling can be accomplished at more than 650 natural gas fueling stations across Germany. An Audi press release (press credentials required to view) said in pure e-gas mode, the Audi A3 g-tron is “CO2 neutral.”

The Audi A3 g-tron is the latest step in Audi’s alternative fuel and electric powertrain ventures. The e-gas Audi touts is produced at a plant in Werlte, Germany. As we reported some time ago, Audi says e-gas is made by using green electricity and binds as much CO2 as when the Audi A3 g-tron is driven in pure e-gas mode. There’s where that whole “CO2 neutral” thing comes in, see. Reportedly, the Audi A3 g-tron travels 100 km on 3.2 to 3.3 kilograms of e-gas. The cost of the gas at the time of this writing was about €3.50 per 100 km driven, Audi said.

Powering the Audi A3 g-tron is a 1.4-liter TFSI engine that makes 110 horsepower, Audi said. Its base price starts at €25,900.

So, does Audi operate its own network of 650 e-gas pumps at German service stations? Not exactly. The release explained:

The buying principle for Audi e-gas is straightforward and corresponds to how green electricity is distributed: Audi records the quantities of gas that the customer pays for using their Audi e-gas fuel card and ensures that exactly this amount of Audi e-gas is fed into the German natural gas network.

Customers who choose this option can obtain an Audi e-gas fuel card for a flat price of 14.95 euros per month. In addition, the costs for the quantities of gas refueled by each customer are deducted via the Audi e-gas fuel card. The card can be used to purchase Audi e-gas at over 650 fuel stations in Germany.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG, emphasizes: “In addition to our e-mobility developments, the Audi e-gas project is an important pillar of our sustainability strategy – as is the development of other synthetic fuels.”

As we reported recently, Audi is also working on synthetic ethanol and diesel fuel right here in the United States.

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