The intention of Audi for gasoline-electric hybrids is temporarily on hold after a decision to delay the hybrid Q5. It was unveiled by Autocar in July that the Q7 would not receive a hybrid powertrain, with the firm opting to focus instead on more economical diesels and weight reduction from its vehicles. Presently the Audi Q5, which was next in the list for the technology, won't be offered as a hybrid either.
"Audi won't produce a petrol-electric hybrid until we can make nickel metal hydride batteries safer in crash situations, and hybrid technology more efficient overall. Until then we will concentrate on producing more efficient diesel engines and aluminium chassis," senior sources said.
The Q5 will now come with a stop-start system, and could get more fuel-efficient enhancing technology. Audi's reply to BMW's Efficient Dynamics initiative won't get a specific designation, as the firm wants to advertise the belief that the enhancements are a natural part of its technical development. The latest technology could make its premiere on the A1 supermini, set in 2010, but development is advanced enough that it could be part of the existing copies in 2009.