Audi will launch hybrid variants of the A8, A7 Sportback, A6 and Q5 with an electric range of more than 25 miles in the WLTP cycle at the Geneva Motor Show. The new plug-in hybrid models will be available for order later in 2019.
The Audi Q5, A6, A7 and A8 TFSI e will be available wil be available in two variants with different performance and equipment depending on the model: A comfort model and a sportier S line with a more tightly tuned suspension and drive setup with higher boost performance of the electric motor for more dynamic handling. From now on, the new plug-in hybrid models carry the “TFSI e” badge. In the future, the “e-tron” label will remain reserved exclusively for electrically driven cars.
The electric-only range of the PHEVs will account for more than 25 miles in the WLTP cycle for every model. The hybrid drive concept is designed so that customers can travel on around a third of their usual routes in electric-only mode during day-to-day driving.
All new plug-in-hybrids by Audi use a turbo-charged petrol engine with direct injection that works together with an electric motor that is integrated in the transmission. A lithium-ion battery beneath the luggage compartment floor supplies the electrical energy. As a result, the electric motor can support the combustion engine during acceleration. The result: high start-off performance and powerful acceleration.
At the same time, with regard to recuperation, the drive system resembles that of the new purely electrically driven Audi e-tron. It is designed for high efficiency and maximum recuperation performance. When breaking, the new Audi PHEV models recover up to 80 kW of energy. The electric motor handles slight decelerations, i.e. the majority in everyday traffic. For medium brake applications, the task is divided between the hydraulic wheel brakes, which perform this task alone only with a deceleration of more than 0.4 g.
The lithium-ion battery for the A6, A7 and A8 is made up of 104 pouch cells, which are combined in eight modules. It stores 14.1 kWh of energy at a voltage of 385 V. The lithium-ion battery in the Q5 comprises prismatic cells and has the same capacity. In each case, the cooling circuit of the battery is integrated in the low-temperature circuit, which supplies the electric motor and the power electronics. The power electronics transform the direct current of the high voltage-battery into a three-phase current for the electric motor; when recuperating, it does the opposite. The standard heat pump ensures efficient vehicle climate control and can generate up to 3 kW of heat energy from 1 kW of electrical energy with the waste heat occurring in the vehicle.
The A8 with plug-in hybrid drive has a combustion engine and a permanently excited synchronous motor as an electric motor. It is integrated together with the clutch in the eight-gear tiptronic, which passes the torques to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The luxury liner drives as a 5.3-metre long A8 L variant with an extended wheelbase.
The Audi A7 and A6 models with plug-in hybrid drive use the same powertrain. The battery capacity is identical to that of the Audi A8 PHEV. Together with the electric motor that is integrated in the dual clutch transmission, a gasoline engine ensures that there is ample output and torque. Both models are available in two output levels with different boost performance.
The powertrain in the Audi Q5 PHEV follows the same concept as the Audi A6 and A7.
The hybrid management of the plug-in-models is designed for maximum efficiency and customer comfort and automatically selects the optimum operation strategy. Start takes place electrically in “EV” mode as standard; the combustion engine is switched on depending on the situation.
The plug-in hybrid models have the following drive modes: “EV,” “Auto,” and “Hold.” With the operating mode button, the driver can select from these three basic settings: Priority for the electric drive, fully automatic hybrid mode or save power for a later phase of the journey. In “Auto” mode, the PHEVs use the intelligent interaction of the electric motor and the combustion engine for maximum efficiency. In “Hold” mode, the drive management controls the powertrain so that the current charge status of the battery is maintained, e.g. for driving later in electric-only mode in urban areas.
The predictive efficiency assist makes an essential contribution to increasing the electric range and ensuring maximum customer comfort. For this purpose, the intelligent drive management integrates the route profile into the control of the powertrain. The predictive operation strategy assesses both the navigation data during active route guidance and the information of the predictive efficiency assist as well as of the vehicle sensor system. Using this information, it creates rough planning for the entire route and fine planning for the upcoming kilometers. As a result, situations are recognized in which the driver should take their foot off the right pedal. The driver receives a corresponding visual indication on the display and haptic feedback via the active accelerator pedal. At the same time, anticipatory recuperation is initiated.
Moreover, the driver can select between the “comfort,” “efficiency,” “auto” and “dynamic” drive modes via the familiar switches in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system and thus influence the setup of the drive, suspension and steering. Depending on the setting, the thresholds from which both drives work together or the electric motor supplies the boost and thus the maximum torque change when accelerating. In “dynamic” mode, the electric motor supports the combustion engine more intensively with its electric boost performance for maximum dynamic handling.
The active accelerator pedal with variable pressure point for driving in electric-only mode supports the drive with haptic feedback for operation that is as efficient as possible. When the driver removes their foot from the accelerator, the vehicle glides freely in the automatic gear D and in the Audi drive select profiles “auto” and “efficiency” (under 160 km/h), where both the combustion engine and the electric motor are decoupled and switched off. On the other hand, in the S gear and in the “dynamic” profile, the electric motor remains active in deceleration mode and recuperates, i.e. it converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy.
The optional Audi virtual cockpit and the MMI display present all important notifications concerning electric driving: a power meter, the range and all energy flows.
The compact charging system is also part of the standard equipment of the new Audi plug-in hybrids. It comprises cables for the domestic and industrial sockets and a control panel. As an option, Audi supplies the wall-holder clip and a mode 3 cable for public charging stations. At a charge connector with an output of 7.2 kW, a full charge of the battery takes a good two hours.
Charge Management from the Couch: The myAudi app
The myAudi app is also a practical tool for dealing with the vehicle. The app brings services from the Audi connect portfolio to the customer’s smartphone. Using the app, the customer can remotely check the battery and range status, start the charging process, program the charge timer and view the charge and consumption statistics.
Another function of the myAudi app is the pre-entry climate control even before setting off. It is made possible because the compressor of the air conditioning and the auxiliary heater in the vehicle work on a high-voltage basis. The customer can determine exactly how the interior should be heated or cooled while the vehicle is parked or the battery is being charged. Depending on the respective vehicle equipment, heating of the steering wheel, seats, mirror, windshield and rear window as well as the seat ventilation can be activated via the pre-entry climate control. Rapid start of the climate components is also possible when unlocking the vehicle with the key.