Petrol-electric engines dropped in favour of cleaner diesels

Audi’s plans for petrol-electric hybrids are on hold indefinitely following a decision to postpone the hybrid Q5.

Autocar revealed in July that the Q7 would not get a hybrid powertrain, with the company deciding to focus on more efficient diesels and cutting weight from its cars.

Now the Q5, which was next in line for the technology, won’t be available as a hybrid either. Senior sources said: “Audi won’t produce a petrol-electric hybrid until we can make nickel metal hydride batteries safer in crash situations, and hybrid technology more efficient overall. Until then we will concentrate on producing more efficient diesel engines and aluminium chassis.”

The Q5 will now be fitted with a stop-start system, and could get further fuel-saving technology. Audi’s answer to BMW’s Efficient Dynamics initiative won’t get a specific name, as the company wants to promote the belief that the improvements are a natural part of its technical progress.

The new technology could make its debut on the A1 supermini, due in 2010, but development is sufficiently advanced that it could be added to existing models next year.

Vicky Parrott

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15 December 2008

I keep hearing the UK government wants to increase the tax on diesel to make the economic benefits over petrol nill, because diesel is causing asthma in the young and old and affecting adults with asthma in towns and cities. They say the future is petrol hybrids. So VW/Audi are heading in the wrong direction then. Of course petrol engines are getting more and more efficent and combine this with electric and it does seem the right idea. Diesel has always been a dirty poisionous fuel which makes petrol look almost clean.

31 December 2012

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15 December 2008

Well this spells the end of the hybrid versions of the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera too.

It a shame Audi are just copying BMWs 'EfficientDynamics' (and taking quite a while to catch up). They had a chance to go for real innovation like more extensive use of Aluminium. They will always struggle to reduce weight when they insist on having the heavy quattro drivetrain.

15 December 2008

They can't afford it. By happy accident they are opting to reduce weight from the cars though, to be fair, Audi have been making Aluminium A8s for donkeys. It's a little more rational than putting huge great batteries in although that S Class one looks impressive.

Bring back steel wheels.

16 December 2008

I don't actually think there is much to chose nowadays between petrol and diesel. Whilst diesels emit more of some pollutants, I believe Nitrious Oxide is one example, they emit considerably less CO2 (which is all the narrow minded government seems to care about) and you use less diesel.

I recently changed from a 1.6 petrol focus to a 1.6 diesel focus. Whilst the petrol could only manage 40mpg on a long journey, the diesel manages over 60mpg easily. So fewer tanker journeys to take my diesel from the refinery to the fuel station for me, and as the car has a DPF, it emits no particulates. I would like to see a Prius get 60mpg and I don't have any nasty batteries to worry about.

There is a place for both fuels, and I certainly wouldn't single out diesel as being noticeably worse than petrol. In any event, it would appear that the huge leaps forward in diesel engine technology are now being transferred to petrol engines to allow them to become more efficient.

Hybrids are simply one stop gap solution, though an important one, until Hydrogen is rolled out. Audi have decided that there are other ways they can achieve similar results to Hybrid technology.

17 December 2008

Does your Focus achieve its 60MPG economy across the entire tank of fuel, consistently? Or is that a one off "if I do a long journey I can get up to" figure?

Petrol is currently considerably cheaper than diesel, and also emits less CO2 per gallon burnt than diesel. For your interest, our Prius averages 52MPG across the entire tank, day in, day out. If you account for the difference in fuel prices and CO2, your Focus needs to hit or exceed 60MPG on every tank to achieve the same.

You're also right in that diesels emit a huge amount more nitrous oxides and particulates, neither of which are very good for health, particularly in congested cities. As I see it, petrol has made great strides in catching up with diesel and reducing the benefits. Whereas diesel is perhaps running out of options and yet is still far dirtier and far less refined to drive. For example, the BMW 530i now hits just shy of 38MPG on the combined cycle, whereas the 530d is only 5MPG better at just shy of 43MPG.

Back on topic, I find it no surprise that Audi have canned their hybrid development - their entire range of cars seem pretty bad for efficiency when you compare them with their competition. You could view that as either they really don't care much about efficiency, or they have plenty of scope for improvement and catching up without needing to go hybrid yet.

18 December 2008

At the moment with the colder weather and a lot of driving through London I am getting about 56mpg from the Focus which is pretty good. A long trip up to Wales saw 66mpg, overall I average just under 60mpg. With the DPF the Focus doesn't emit any particulates and what about your lovely juicy batteries?

I am biased towards diesel as I have one, but trying to be objective I don't think there is much to chose between the two, it very much depends on the type of driving you do and personal tastes. One point I would completely disagree with though is about diesel being less refined to drive. The drivetrain is far smoother in the diesel focus than the petrol which is particularly noticeable in crawling traffic, the engine is much quieter than the petrol with the expception of low speed town driving, and with all the low down torque the diesel is much more relaxing to drive (and faster).

BMW definately seem to have the competition licked for efficiency, Audi have some catching up to do.

18 December 2008

A DPF filter means reduced particulate emissions, not zero. And these our output at the point of use in congested populated areas, not contained neatly in a recycling centre.

If you're interested in emissions , take a look at http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/search/vehicleDetails.asp?id=20435

In addition to particulates, the diesel has three times the NOx emissions of the petrol Focus. And 150 times the NOx emissions of a hybrid car such as the Prius.

We have both a diesel and petrol powered car and agree strongly that you should pick the power source that suits your driving and personal preferences. I have to say though, I've yet to come across a diesel engine that sounds quieter than its equivalent petrol, and produces less vibration through the controls. I also personally strongly dislike the power delivery of the smaller capacity turbocharged diesels.


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