New Audi A3 plug-in sedan will be sold alongside three-door hatchback (this is an S3 on display in Paris) and five-door sportswagon

New Audi A3 plug-in sedan will be sold alongside three-door hatchback (this is an S3 on display in Paris) and five-door sportswagon

An Audi A3 plug-in hybrid will be launched across Europe in 2014.

It will be sold as a four door A4 saloon alongside the hatch and [sports]wagon body variants but will be Audi's first plug in and will share a development of the 1.4 TFSI petrol engine, according to Heiko Pabst von Ohain, head of Audi A3 family product marketing.

"We have not rushed into the plug-in sector because our engineers wanted to ensure we had the best system for our customers and, after the success of the A3 and the A4, we wanted to add the plug-in," he said.

Audi reckons it will be vital to have a plug-in for the mid-sized sector but it is also working on induction-charged systems to overcome differing charging rates around the world and which can be better controlled by induction recharging (same principle as your Oral B electric toothbrush - ed).

The A4 saloon is expected to take a small share of A4 UK A4 range sales but will account for a much more significant share in the US, Africa and China, von Ohain added.

Audi is also looking into future models with fuel cells but the storage and refuelling networks made widespread adoption unlikely before 2020.