The Q7 will be the second plug-in diesel offered in Europe after the Volvo V60. The Swedish automaker debuted the car last year and has sold more than 10,000 units of the V60 variant, which starts at 56,200 euros ($69,000) in Germany.
This summer, Audi development chief boss Ulrich Hackenberg revealed the company’s desire to beat its German rivals to market with a plug-in diesel. He said the A8 and Q7 would get a plug-in diesel variants but stopped short of confirming which model would be first. He said the drivetrain will combine a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel and an electric motor.
Hackenberg said Audi will also offer plug-in diesel variants in the U.S. He did not say which plug-in diesels Audi will sell in the U.S. The combination of power and economy in the Audi plug-in diesel would make it popular in the U.S., Hackenberg said.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler also is bullish on the powertrain.
"We strongly believe in plug-in hybrids," Stadler said earlier this year during the launch of the A3 Sportback e-tron, the automaker's first plug-in hybrid, which combines a gasoline engine and an electric motor.
Audi believes plug-ins are the best solution for low-emission vehicles because they don't face the same range constraints as battery-powered vehicles.
Audi is widely considered by industry watchers to have fallen behind its German rivals on technology following the introduction of BMW's i subbrand, which features the i3 electric car and the i8 plug-in hybrid supercars, and Mercedes' electronic innovations such as the Magic Body Control ride comfort aid and its semi-autonomous driving technology.
Hackenberg said Audi's "decades of lead" in diesel technology has helped it cut CO2 emissions and increase sales. "Diesel will remain one of the core values in Vorsprung durch Technik; we are putting our money in it," he said, referring to Audi's "progress through technology" slogan.
Nick Gibbs contributed to this report