When it comes to lowering emissions and improving fuel economy, there isn’t one single technology that can serve as a silver bullet. Audi realizes this, and despite comments previously made by a few executives, both alternative powertrains will be available in a sizable portion of the automaker’s future lineup.
“We shall offer electric power in the best possible forms for a wide range of mobility needs,” Rupert Stadler, Audi’s CEO, told Automotive News.
Perhaps the most publicized form is the pure electric vehicle. Audi plans on launching a sub-brand — named “e-tron” — dedicated to EV models. Thus far, only an R8-like sports coupe is scheduled for production in 2012, but the technology will gradually be integrated into other segments — perhaps, even, a small city car like the recently launched A1.
Hybrids will still play a sizable role within Audi’s portfolio. Michael Dick, Audi’s board member charged with technical development, indicated that the automaker is aiming to have a hybrid system available in each of its model segments — which, given the company’s desire to amortize the development costs of such a system, isn’t entirely surprising.
The U.S. will be the first market to receive a hybrid form of the Q5 crossover, which may utilize a powertrain quite similar to those used in the new 2011 Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne hybrids, respectively. Audi also used the 2010 Geneva motor show to showcase another pair of hybrid ideas. The A8 Hybrid concept is essentially green lighted for production (although it isn’t scheduled for U.S. consumption), and the A1 e-tron concept showcased the company’s own series hybrid/ extended-range electric vehicle propulsion system.
Still, it appears that the internal combustion engine will remain king for some time. Audi only expects 5 percent of its lineup to be made of electric vehicles by 2020, and as such, aims to improve the efficiency of its gasoline and diesel engines by as much as 30 percent in the same time frame.
Source: Automotive News