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Hybrid Audi Q5 coming to Australia

Compromise: Audi Australia does not expect to sell a large number of hybrids because its diesel engines are so economical.

Audi Australia says yes to petrol-electric Q5

13 Dec 2010

AUDI will bring a petrol-electric hybrid Q5 crossover to Australia and is seriously considering other hybrid models, despite the prospect of small sales volumes.

The news comes weeks after Audi introduced a facelifted Q7 SUV that now features fuel-saving stop-start technology that allows the engine to shut down at idle and start again automatically.

Audi intends to roll out stop-start technology across much of its range, not just eco specials such as the A3 TDi e.

The company would have liked to have introduced more stop-start models earlier, but Volkswagen Group companies such as Audi are required do additional testing because Australia is deemed a ‘hot’ country.

Audi Australia managing director Uwe Hagen said there are always additional tests for a hot country, so it takes longer to get some products to market.

“It is a pity Australia is a hot country,” he said. “We are always pushing that we are early in the launch line, but the hot country classification takes longer.”

7 center imageMr Hagen said Audi Australia would bring hybrid models to Australia, starting with the Q5 hybrid unveiled at the Los Angeles Motor Show last month, even though the company had not done a business case.

“We don’t need a business case. When you know that the whole car line is successful you know that you can make a certain percentage of this car line as a hybrid.”

Mr Hagen said it was not totally clear when the Q5 hybrid would come to Australia but suggested it may be about a year from now.

He said Audi Australia does not expect to sell a large number of hybrids because its diesel engines are so economical, but is happy to offer them.

“We have to make an environmental contribution, so we will offer the specific (hybrid) car in a car line and let the customers decide whether they take the diesel version, petrol version or hybrid version.”

Mr Hagen believes that hybrid vehicles will only be of benefit to customers who use them in hybrid-friendly conditions – heavy traffic with lots of starting and stopping.

“Hybrid is asking for a specific way of using the car and normally, when you are selling a hybrid you have to ask the customer which way are they using this car,” he said.

“The hybrid is a form of compromise.”

Mr Hagen believes hybrids have their place, though they bring a smaller economical gain with lighter cars, and the real green advance will come with more advanced technology.

“In my eyes (hybrid) is a bridge to the next technology, e-car or combination of combustion engine and an e-engine (plug-in hybrid).”

The Q5 hybrid, which will go on sale in the US next year, is fitted with a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder petrol engine that generates 155kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

This is assisted by an electric motor producing 33kW and 211Nm that is linked to a 1.3kWh battery pack with 72 cells using latest generation lithium-ion technology.

The 38kg battery pack is provided by Sanyo, which has entered into a supply agreement with the Volkswagen Group.

The Japanese electronic technology giant has just built a new factory is Kasai where it will produce the new lithium-ion batteries for Volkswagen Group and Suzuki as well as nickel metal hydride batteries for Ford and Honda.

The Q5’s battery cells are organised in two parallel lines and are cooled by an air tunnel across the middle connected to the air-conditioning system.

The petrol and electric assistance provides enough power to sling the Q5 hybrid from 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds.

Audi said fuel consumption for the Q5 hybrid will be under 7.0L/100km, with emissions coming in under 160g/km.

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