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Audi's A3 e-tron could be the car that proves all the electric car nay-sayers wrong. It overcomes several of the key drawbacks of previous electric vehicles, and has won high praise from the UK's motoring press.

The Telegraph points out that the e-tron's 31 mile electric range means that for day-to-day driving, there may be no need to use the car's 1.4 litre petrol engine at all. It can be charged in four hours using a home power outlet, and two ours using a wall box.

And if you did find yourself out of electricity you shouldn't need to call upon your annual breakdown cover provider; switching to the petrol unit gives you a range of around 500 miles between fill-ups. It also secures exemption from the London congestion charge and vehicle excise duty – a result of 37kg/km emissions.

Autocar is also a big fan of the e-tron, awarding it four out of five stars. It heralds a change in the public's perception of the electric car, with impressive performance coupled with low emissions and an astonishing fuel economy of 176mpg. Autocar points out that the e-tron is little different visually from a regular A3, with the slick interior styling that we have come to expect from Audi.

AutoExpress similarly praises Audi's work in the plug-in hybrid arena, also giving it 4/5 stars. The e-tron is refined, says AutoExpress, yet still delivers a punchy ride when required. But those allured by Audi's electrical coup d’état may have their passion dulled by a lack of affordability: even after the government's £5,000 electric car grant, the e-tron will still cost you £29,950.

On the other hand, long-term petrol savings will be considerable. The world's oil companies may be hoping the public don't take a liking to machines such as the e-tron.

By Craig Hindmarsh