• First production Audi A3 models capable of running on compressed natural gas launched in Germany
  • Audi A3 Sportback g-tron now available to order in Germany, priced from €25,900
  • CO2-neutral mobility with the Audi e-gas fuel card
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg: "Audi e-gas is an important pillar of our sustainability strategy"

An Audi A3 equipped to run on compressed natural gas or a specially produced ultra-clean 'e-gas' has been launched in Germany. Audi says it provides the most environmentally friendly form of long-distance mobility.

The A3 Sportback g-tron can be powered by ultra-clean Audi e-gas produced using green electricity, or by compressed natural gas, both of which are available to drivers in Germany.

If a driver uses conventional CNG to power the car, Audi can feed an equivalent volume of e-gas into Germany's natural gas network via a special card, so that environmental performance is maintained. An Audi spokesman told just-auto that the e-gas and CNG can be considered interchangeable in terms of the running of the car, so it's a question of what gas is available to the driver at different gas outlets. The e-gas card ensures that, in effect, the car's environmental footprint in use is always that of the ultra-clean e-gas.

Audi says the A3 g-tron forms part of a new, integrated and sustainable mobility concept.

Its 1.4-litre TFSI engine develops 110 PS and can be operated using either natural gas, e-gas generated by Audi or petrol. In pure e-gas mode the g-tron is entirely CO2-neutral, Audi says, meaning that customers who use the Audi e-gas fuel card can opt to power their A3 g-tron without impacting on the environment if they wish.

The A3 Sportback g-tron will be priced from 25,900 euros in Germany. Due to the lack of infrastructure required to fully implement natural gas filling stations, there are no plans for Audi to introduce this model in the UK.

Audi e-gas is a synthetic methane that is produced at the Audi e-gas facility located in Werlte in Lower Saxony, Germany - the world's first industrial power-to-gas plant. Green electricity is used in the production of Audi e-gas, and the process of generating it actually binds as much CO2 as is released when the Audi A3 g-tron is driven in gas mode, giving it exceptional ecological credentials, Audi claims. On average the Audi A3 g-tron consumes between 3.2 and 3.3 kilograms of gas per 100 kilometres. Fuel costs at present start at around 3.50 euros per 100 kilometres.

The buying principle for Audi e-gas corresponds to how green electricity is distributed: Audi records the quantities of natural 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, said: "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."

Audi is already operating a research facility for the production of Audi e-ethanol and e-diesel with its partner Joule in Hobbs, New Mexico. Moreover, the company is conducting research into the synthetic manufacture of Audi e-gas in cooperation with Global Bioenergies.