Audi will unveil a plug-in hybrid diesel drivetrain in 2015, according to its technical development chief Ulrich Hackenberg. If the unveiling pushes through, Audi would beat rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW in offering a plug-in hybrid diesel car. The plug-in hybrid diesel drivetrain will feature a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine and an electric motor and will be first available in the Audi Q line of SUVs and the A8 flagship sedan, Hackenberg said.
He remarked that Audi will sell the plug-in hybrid diesels in the United States and Europe. It is expected that Audi will first use the new technology on the new Q7, which is also the first model underpinned by VW Group’s new MLB large-car modular architecture.
Audi will start sales of the gasoline and diesel versions of the Q7 in 2015. Mercedes already offers diesel hybrid versions of its E-class and S-class models. Land Rover also offers diesel hybrid versions of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport SUVs.
For now, only Volvo is offering a plug-in diesel hybrid car derived from the V60 diesel station wagon. While its rivals have advanced so far in technology, Audi is considered by industry watchers as a lagger. Hackenberg remarked that Audi’s "decades of lead" in diesel technology was helping it cut carbon dioxide emissions while increasing sales.
He remarked that diesel will remain one of the core values in “Vorsprung durch Technik,” referring to Audi's "progress through technology" slogan. He quipped that a combination of power and economy would make the Audi plug-in diesel popular in the United States. He noted that the plug-in diesel offers low carbon emissions and a lot torque.