The focus is placed on three objectives: a confident electric driving experience, easy charging management and high suitability for everyday driving. These three factors form the target triangle of PHEV development at Audi.
For one, the electric driving experience is defined by a powerful electric motor delivering up to 105 kW, depending on the model. This ensures fully electric operation across a large speed range in diverse driving situations. The sophisticated powertrain management of Audi’s plug-in hybrids provides the basis for frequent and sustained electric driving. The smart powertrain management system controls the interaction of the electric motor and the IC engine. It decides when the car will operate in fully electric mode, when energy is recuperated or when the car coasts while the IC engine is inactivated and when the IC engine is additionally activated. The utilization of diverse vehicle sensors, route data and route information for propulsion control is essential to smart powertrain management, large segments of electric driving – especially in real-life operation – and high energy efficiency. Measured according to the WLTP cycle, Audi’s PHEV models achieve an electric range of up to 59 kilometers.
Charging management is the second pillar of Audi’s PHEV model development. Audi’s PHEV models in the mid-size and full-size class have a charging capacity of up to 7.4 kW, which recharges the hybrid models in approximately 2.5 hours. This charging period is ideal for the typical user pattern of PHEV customers: It makes easy and fast charging of the car possible, once or twice a day, either at home or additionally at work. But Audi has also provided for easy charging on the road: Audi’s proprietary e-tron Charging Service gives PHEV models card-based access to some 137,000 charging points in 25 European countries. In addition to the “Compact” charging system with a cable for household and industrial power outlets, the standard equipment of all PHEV models includes a Mode-3 cable with a Type-2 plug for public charging stations.
High suitability for everyday driving marks the third corner in the target triangle. Obviously, this is initially derived from the first two objectives: frequent operation in electric mode and easy charging management. Ample space, high variability and usability of Audi’s plug-in hybrids are other important criteria for everyday suitability. Audi’s engineers have invested a major effort in the space-saving and compact integration of the batteries in the trunk of Audi’s PHEV models. Due to the batteries being located underneath it, the trunk floor is slightly elevated compared to the conventional models, but does not include a step. This makes for a flat, effectively usable floor without impairing the customer’s ability to load the trunk. Good usability also includes the availability of a trailer hitch, except for the A8 TFSI e, and towing capacity identical to the conventional models (exception Audi Q5: conventional 2,500 kg, PHEV 1,750 kg).
The combination of an electric driving experience, easy charging and high suitability for everyday use makes plug-in hybrids an attractive choice for many customers, especially commuters, because they enable sustainable, locally emission-free driving.