INGOLSTADT, Germany Audi of America plans to launch its first diesel and hybrid vehicles next year. Both powerplants will be on the full-sized Q7 SUV.
The SUV is likely to be the first of several hybrid models. Audi has not disclosed which other vehicles will get the parallel hybrid system, which can run on either a traditional gasoline engine or electric motor or on both at the same time.
Audi has been working on a hybrid engine with Volkswagen and Porsche. But Audi will be the first of the partners to launch a vehicle with the electric and gasoline engine. Porsche said a hybrid Cayenne SUV will be sold in the United States at the end of the decade.
At an Audi technical day last weekend, experts said the hybrid system is modular and can easily be adapted to different model ranges. Josef Bast, head of Audi AGs powertrain electronics unit in Germany, said the electric drive easily integrates with existing drivetrains.
Audi will deliver a hybrid Q7 beginning late next year. Tthe Q7 will have a 3.6-liter, 280-hp gasoline fuel-injected engine mated to the electric engine. The hybrid system will use about 23 percent less fuel -- getting about 23 mpg -- than a Q7 running only on gasoline, said Bast (or 9.8 liters of fuel per 100 km). Audi says it cannot provide a mileage range.
On the diesel side, Audi plans to bring in a turbodiesel Q7 with a 3.0-liter V-6 powerplant producing about 230 hp and about 400 pounds-feet of torque. It will be available for all 50 states at the end of 2008 in low volume. The diesel is expected to have a 600-mile range on one tank of fuel.