New plug-in hybrid variants to star at Geneva Motor Show

New petrol plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) A6, A7 Sportback, A8 and Q5 models will make their debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show next week (week starting 4 March).

The new TFSI e models will be available for ordering during the course of 2019.

The plug-in hybrid strategy of Audi

In the future, the ‘e-tron’ label will be reserved exclusively for purely electrically driven cars in the Audi portfolio, while the new expanded range of plug-in hybrids will be identifiable through their ‘TFSI e’ badging.

Depending on the model series, a choice of two variants with differing performance and equipment will be available: a comfort model (50 TFSI e) and a variant with a higher output and more of a performance focus (55 TFSI e or, for the A8 specifically, 60 TFSI e).

The versatile drive concept

The PHEVs offer the advantages of zero-emissions urban driving when in electric-only mode, freedom from range anxiety when driving long distances and dynamic, responsive performance thanks to the collaborative power of their high output electric motors and powerful internal combustion engines.

An electric-only range of more than 40 kilometres (25 miles) will be possible in each TFSI e model based on WLTP test data. The hybrid drive concept behind them is designed so that customers can travel for around a third of their usual route in electric-only mode during day-to-day driving.

The fundamental TFSI e concept brings together a turbo-charged petrol engine with direct injection and 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.

Efficient, high-performance

The A8 L 60 TFSI e quattro combines a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder TFSI combustion engine with a permanently excited synchronous electric motor. This is integrated together with the clutch in the eight-speed tiptronic which channels its torque to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.

The Audi Q5, A6 and A7 Sportback models with plug-in hybrid drive use the same powertrain, with a battery capacity that is identical to that of the Audi A8 PHEV, but with a four-cylinder 2.0 TFSI petrol engine linked to a seven-speed S tronic transmission, which transfers torque to the quattro system with ultra-technology. The dual-clutch transmission integrates the electric motor.

Drive modes and drive control

The hybrid management of the plug-in-models is designed for maximum efficiency and customer comfort and automatically selects the optimum power source. On start-up each model automatically moves away in electric-only ‘EV’ mode; 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 which either give priority to fully electric drive, initiate a 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, eg for driving later in electric-only mode in urban areas.

The driver can also use the familiar Audi drive select controls to toggle between the ‘comfort’, ‘efficiency’, ‘auto’ and ‘dynamic’ drive modes and thus influence the operating characteristics of the drive, suspension and steering. Depending on the setting, the points at which the electric motor and combustion engine join forces 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.

Charging with the e-tron charging service

The compact charging system is also part of the standard equipment of the new Audi plug-in hybrids. It comprises cables for domestic and industrial sockets and a control panel. As an option, an attachment (‘charge clip’) and a mode three cable for public charging stations will be available. At a charging point with an output of 7.2 kW, a full charge of the HV battery will take around two hours.