European automakers have traditionally loved diesel engines, and Americans are starting to warm up to the more efficient motors as well. Next year the all new Audi Q7 is poised to debut, and a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain is in the works reports Automotive News.
But while AN claims it will be the first diesel-electric vehicle offered by the Volkswagen Group (which owns Audi), they must be forgetting, or simply not counting the 261 MPG XL1, which uses a two-cylinder turbodiesel hybrid setup. Other than that outlier though, only the Volvo V60 offers a diesel-electric hybrid version in Europe, and you can’t even get it in the U.S.
That will change with the launch of the 2015 Audi Q7, which will come with an all-new conventional TDI V6 but will also introduce a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain as well. Audi has promised plug-in hybrid versions of every model in its lineup, but most had assumed this meant gas-electric vehicles. But a diesel-electric setup would be even more efficient in a big vehicle like the Q7 SUV, especially if combined with an electric turbocharger, which Audi has also promised is coming to the Q7. So far the only plug-in Audi you can buy is the A3 e-tron, but that will soon change.
Audi has big plans in terms of plug-in cars, as the German automaker has promised not one but two all-electric car debuts for 2015. One will be the long-delayed R8 e-tron, but the other promises to be a sedan with Tesla-rivaling range. Then there’s also the Q8 e-tron that’s put its aim on the Tesla Model X, though whether that’ll be all-electric or another hybrid remains an unsettled question.
Audi is setting itself up nicely to be a leader in fuel economy in the near future, and a diesel-electric drivetrain would set it far apart from competitors who have nothing comparable to offer. Now if only we could convince an American automaker to make a diesel-electric pickup…