Audi are taking the task of reducing emissions very seriously with a press release recently issued that gives us a glimpse at the future for the Vorsprung durch Technik (lead by technology) brand.
Audi have announced that their Q7 Hybrid is expected to go on sale in its initial markets before the end of 2008. The Q7 hybrid combines its 3.6-litre FSI petrol engine with an electric motor situated in the drivetrain powered by a 288-volt nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery.
The combination sees available power increase from 173Kw/233hp to 178Kw/240hp but the big news is the increase in torque with the electric motor kicking in a huge 285Nm and thatâ€™s in addition to the petrol engines 375Nm.
The Q7 Hybrid reduces fuel consumption, and therefore C02 output, by approximately 23 per cent compared with the standard Q7 3.6 FSI.
The extra oomph runs through the Q7â€™s six-speed tiptronic gearbox and the quattro four-wheel-drive system and is enough to push the impressively sized Q7 from 0-100kmh in 7.6 seconds a 0.9 second improvement over the standard car.
The combined cycle fuel consumption in the Q7 Hybrid improves from the standard cars 12.7L/100 to 9.8 L/100 while CO2 emissions also drop from 309g/km to 237g/km.
The capacity of the NiMH battery allows the Q7 Hybrid to be driven up to 1.2 miles on purely electrical power â€“ coasting and braking feed additional energy into the system. When the capacity limit of the battery has been reached, the combustion engine is activated to recharge the battery.
Audi quote a rather eye opening fact in that the Audi Q7 hybrid recuperates about 720 kWh of energy a year â€“ which equates to around a sixth of what a four-person household uses â€“ based on an average of 20,000km per annum.
Compared to earlier generations of hybrid vehicles, the electric motor and the battery are extremely lightweight. The battery weighs 69 kg and the hybrid module with the electric motor 40 kg.
Audiâ€™s hybrid system has been jointly developed in conjunction with Volkswagen and Porsche so we should be expecting similar announcements over the coming year regarding the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne hybrid model variants.