Audi took the stage at this year’s TED 2012 Conference in Long Beach, California, to announce its first battery-electric Audi A3 e-tron pilot program for the US. The luxury automaker will test the EVs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Denver, where Audi engineers will monitor how the e-tron technology functions in everyday, real-world settings. They’ll study factors including driving patterns, energy performance and the effect of climate conditions, and ultimately use that information to develop future EV technology applications, with the potential for an eventual production vehicle. The car that beta testers will be driving in the pre-selected markets is an A3 hatchback, featuring a fully electric powertrain with 26kw lithium-ion battery — good for a range of around 90 miles — and zero driving emissions. Power comes from a 100-kW motor (around 130 horsepower) that drives the front wheels while generating 199 lb-ft of torque. The upshot: 60 mph in 11 seconds, topping out at a max speed of 90 mph. Recharging, meanwhile, will take around four hours with a 400-volt rapid charger. Check out additional images of the A3 e-tron in the gallery below.