On the 25th of February Audi took the wraps off their strategy to corner-off the premium plug-in hybrid market with the introduction of plug-in variants of 4 current top-selling models. This marks an all-out assault on a section of the industry that is guaranteed to grow in demand (and competition) over the coming years as the world progressively goes ‘greener.’
First up is the Audi A8. Audi’s luxury limousine has previously had extremely thirsty petrol engines, some had up to 12 cylinders. Now the A8 will be available with a lithium-ion battery which will produce 14.4 kilowatts per hour of energy at a voltage of 385 V. Pretty complicated and sciencey stuff if we’re honest. This powerplant will also be featured in the extended A8 L.
The A7 Sportback, which is again a luxury executive car like the A8 only with the sportier roofline and more dynamic pedigree, will also receive semi-electrification in the coming months. So too will the A6, which is another large executive saloon only not quite as large as the A8.
Finally, the Audi Q5 SUV will become Audi’s fourth and final car (for now) to receive hybrid technology in this unveiling. All of these cars will be debuted at the Geneva Motor Show next week where visitors will be fortunate enough to experience the cars up close and personal.
All of the models will use the same 14.1-kilowatt-hours lithium-ion battery as the A8, only the cells will be prismatic in the Q5, which means they’re a different shape but still pack the same power. The batteries will be hidden away under the boot floor of each car.
We expect that under real-world testing by European WLTP standards that each hybrid model will be able to deliver 25 miles of electric-only driving. The onboard settings will naturally use this electricity to get the car rolling from a dead stop, which is when traditionally powered cars are particularly thirsty on fuel. The driver can, however, change the driving mode to ‘hold’, which will stop the car from using the battery so you can save it for later in the journey. Ideal if you’re commuting into the city centre and you want to save your battery for when you’re driving at a slower pace.
It is worth mentioning that all of these models will be kitted out as S Line models as standard, meaning an exceptionally high level of standard equipment while the A6 and A7 have the Black styling pack included too. This pack includes tinted windows, contrast door mirrors, darkened rims and painted brake callipers. Those latter two models will also be made available as performance hybrid versions, whereby the electric motor will work to boost the overall engine power, instead of simply compensating engine power for consumption purposes.
Audi has also released its ‘myAudi’ charge management app in time for these announcements. This is an app for the owners' smartphone which provides a number of helpful services. Firstly, the owner can check the battery status of their car remotely, they can also time and monitor the charging process of their car too. The owner will be able to check the consumption and efficiency statistics from this app too, so you can fine-tune your driving to suit the car.
On top of all of this, the app has some other cool features, such as being able to remotely turn on the heating and climate control features of the car. Ideal for hot summers days and freezing cold mornings. Alongside the central heating, you can use this feature to operate heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated windshield, heated mirrors with this feature if the car is spec’d accordingly.
So it looks like Audi is going full steam ahead with electrifying their models. We expect a full price list to be announced in the coming months and it should be interesting to see the difference in value between each new model and their non-hybrid siblings.