Audi has announced its new battery-electric Audi A3 e-tron pilot program in the U.S. Set to take place in four pilot locations: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver, the program is designed to help Audi identify some of the opportunities and challenges luxury car buyers will face when purchasing an EV vehicle, and will study the effect of driving patterns and climate conditions on EV vehicles.

"The A3 e-tron pilot program serves as an important innovation platform for Audi to develop greater insight into electric vehicles and how American driving conditions affect use of the progressive technology in everyday life," said Jeff Curry, e-mobility and sustainability strategy lead at Audi of America. "We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers."

Based on the gasoline-powered and clean diesel TDI Audi A3, that is currently sold to U.S. customers, the Audi A3 e-tron features a fully electric powertrain with a 26 kW lithium-ion battery, and zero local driving emissions. The vehicle has 199 lb-ft torque, a battery range of approximately 90 miles and a top speed of 90 mph.

Audi will be premiering the new A3 at the Geneva Auto show Tuesday, March 6, 2012.