Geneva 2013: Audi A3 g-tron runs on synthetic natural gas called ‘e-gas’

Having already used the e-tron name for its recently unveiled A3 electric car, the g-tron is a plug-in hybrid that runs on natural gas. But if Audi had its way, all g-trons would be powered by Audi’s own “e-gas,” which is produced off the coast of Germany in the North Sea, as demonstrated in the photo gallery above.

The new A3 e-tron and the g-tron will be side by side at next week’s Geneva Auto Show. The g-tron will be hitting European showrooms by the end of 2013, according to a GreenCarReports report. We reached out to a U.S. Audi representative to find out whether the g-tron would ever be sold in the States, but were told that prospects look grim. The rep cited an inadequate refueling infrastructure as the main reason behind this decision, despite the United States having more natural gas than any other nation, including Germany and other parts of Europe where the g-tron will be available.

Powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter TFSI four-cylinder, the g-tron will produce 110 horsepower and hit 62 miles per hour from a standstill in 11 seconds. The g-tron’s top speed is pegged at 118 mph but will travel 800 miles on a single tank.

What makes the g-tron distinctive in the natural gas-powered vehicle market is that should natural gas or e-gas not be available, owners can pump gasoline into an alternate tank. This makes the g-tron a viable option for long trips and commuters not interested in being penned in by their car.

When powered by e-gas, the g-tron can travel up to 9,300 miles per year completely carbon neutral. Should the driver use normal natural gas, however, the emissions are still extremely low at only 95 grams per kilometer.

We’re sort of fascinated by the g-tron and really wonder why – if Audi wants to power it on e-gas – it wasn’t called the e-tron. Or why Audi didn’t name e-gas something else altogether. We can already tell there’s going to be confusion at dealerships between the e-gas-powered g-tron and the e-tron EV.

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