Audi A3 e-tron
A3 E-tron Cutaway
German automaker Audi will focus intensively on plug-in hybrids in the coming years. There's even a BEV in the works for Audi in the form of the Audi R8 e-tron, but what Audi will not do is a range-extended electric vehicle.
Audi's research and development boss, Ulrich Hackenberg, in speaking at the launch of the PHEV Audi A3 e-tron, stated that this model is a “benchmark for other plug-in hybrids” and that Audi has decided PHEVs are the way to go because "they meet all of our customers’ expectations.”
Okay, but where's this range extender talk come in? Well, as Autocar outlines:
He revealed that Audi is developing two plug-in hybrid powertrain families. Future models based on the MQB platform would be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain mirroring that of the A3 e-tron. This features an electric motor sited between a transversely mounted 1.4 TFSI petrol engine and a specially developed six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which sends drive to the front wheels.
He added that four-wheel-drive versions of MQB-based models might also be offered using the petrol-electric set-up to drive the front wheels and an electric motor mounted on the rear axle.
Larger Audi models mounted on the new MLB-Evo platform and with longitudinal engines would use a similar system, with the electric motor mounted between the engine and gearbox. Hackenberg said quattro versions of these plug-in hybrids were also possible, using either a mechanically or electrically driven rear axle.
But it's Hackenburg's comment on engine power and implementation that shows he's not a fan of the range-extender:
“If you are going to incorporate an engine with enough power to supply the batteries, it might as well be driving the wheels."
Audi has toyed with range-extended electric vehicles in the concept stages, but has not announced any plans to bring an EREV to market. From Hackenburg's viewpoint, an EREV Audi makes no sense. Looks for Audi to focus almost solely on PHEVs moving forward (aside from the custom ordered Audi R8 e-tron, a pure BEV and the BEV Audi Q8 SUV). We should modify Audi's position then. It's PHEV or BEV for Audi. No EREVs.