An Audi plug-in hybrid for most cars
AUDI has come a long way from the days it was showing the amazing e-tron all-electric vehicle (EV) at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2009. It then treated us to a back and forth of maybe yes, maybe no, sometimes a plug in hybrid (PHEV) and even a hybrid version of it.
Audi plans to offer a PHEV model for most of its significant models by 2020. This is a sharp turnaround from the 2009 year when Audi showed an almost allergic reaction to battery-powered cars. According to Autocar that quoted Ulrich Hackenberg, Research and Development Chief at Audi who announced the news, also stated that there will be two platforms. Maybe now that Johan de Nysschen, ex-head of Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti brand becomes president of Cadillac, the firm realizes its electric investments are too worthwhile throwing away. However, we wonder how de Nysschen’s vehement loathing of anything electric will help the Cadillac ELR.
Two Audi plug-in hybrid Platforms
The first Audi PHEV platform will use the 1.4L TSI gasoline engine mated to the same electric motor used in the A3 Sportback e-tron being currently tested. The A3 platform is Audi and Volkswagen’s MQB, the company’s strategy for a shared modular rolling stock, which stands for Modularer Querbaukasten, or “Modular Transversal Toolkit”, maybe even “Modular Transverse Matrix”. It includes the Volkswagen Golf all the way through the A3. The other platform will use an additional electric motor mounted on the rear axle, since the other cars are front-wheel driven.
When it comes to an Audi PHEV A6 and A7, both are developed around a front longitudinal mounted engine and the company plans to add an electric motor between the engine and the transmission. The good news is that Audi’s famous Quattro system will be included. Hum, an Audi PHEV Quattro! Now that’s something we want to get our hands on.
In the meantime, Audi is already working on a plug-in hybrid of its next A4 sedan, including a PHEV A6, A8 and Q7 SUV. While, we, in the U.S., might not see a plug-in hybrid version of the great A1 subcompact, a concept is in the works. We believe once Mercedes A-Class does well, Audi will want to bring it to our shores.
What a change a few years bring. We are happy to see Audi seriously working on the electrification of its well diversified platforms. Does this mean Volkswagen will follow suit? Probably not. VW needs to redefine its market target and reclaim its specific image. We look forward test driving Audi’s new plug-in hybrids.