Audi introduced the Q7 e-tron quattro plug-in hybrid (earlier post) at the Geneva show. The Q7 e‑tron quattro is Audi’s second vehicle featuring a plug‑in hybrid drive system, and the first diesel plug-in hybrid with quattro drive in its segment.
Powered by the 17.3 kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, the large SUV covers up to 56 kilometers (34.8 mi) on electric power alone. Together with the diesel engine, the car can cover a total distance of 1,410 kilometers (876.1 miles). According to the ECE standard for plug‑in hybrid vehicles, the Audi Q7 e‑tron quattro needs only 1.7 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers (138.4 US mpg) and has a CO2 emission level of less than 50 grams per kilometer (80.5 g/mi).
|Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro. Click to enlarge.|
The 6-cylinder 3.0 TDI and electric motor deliver 275 kW (373 hp) and 700 N·m (516 lb-ft) of system torque—enough to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 6.0 seconds and for a top speed of 225 km/h (139.8 mph).
Like all Audi hybrid models, the Q7 e-tron quattro has also been designed as a parallel hybrid. The 3.0 TDI, a highly efficient latest-generation V6 diesel engine, delivers 190 kW (258 hp) of power and 600 N·m (442.5 lb-ft) of torque. Active engine mounts—a world first for a diesel engine—eliminate unwanted vibrations through selective counter pulses.
The disk-shaped electric motor provides 94 kW and 350 N·m (258 lb-ft) of torque. Together with a decoupler, it is integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic. The automatic transmission is notable for its high efficiency and low weight. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive, also compact and lightweight, transmits power to all four wheels. During fast cornering, its center differential works closely with the wheel-selective torque control system, an intelligent software feature.
Another efficiency component is the standard thermal management system with integrated heat pump, specially developed for the Q7 e-tron quattro. This makes it possible for the waste heat from the electrical drive components to be made available to the interior of the Q7 e-tron quattro. Audi is the first manufacturer worldwide to introduce this technology in series production in a plug-in hybrid.
The lithium-ion battery pack comprises 168 cells. The new two-phase charging technology installed in the new Q7 e-tron quattro allows charging with up to 7.2 kW of power. Depending on the infrastructure (appropriate high-performance industrial socket) and the charging cable, full charging of the battery takes about two-and-a-half hours. A power charging cable is standard equipment.
Audi offers its customers an optional package of e-tron services. They range from changeover to renewably generated electricity (Audi Energy) to installation and customer service. A convenient solution is also provided by the standard e-tron services in the Audi connect portfolio, for controlling functions such as charging and air conditioning via smartphone.
The new electromechanical power steering is highly efficient as well as sensitive. The five-link wheel suspensions, also newly developed, on the front and rear axles are lighter by 60 kilograms (132.3 lb) compared with the predecessor model, and greatly contributes to the high driving dynamics. The lowered center of gravity also plays an essential role here.
Even the basic version of the large SUV rolls along gently and smoothly, while comfort is further enhanced by the optional adaptive air suspension with controlled damping. The driver can regulate the mode of operation via the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system. It offers up to seven modes and integrates further technical components such as the steering, accelerator and automatic transmission.
A tilt angle display, hill descent control, an off-road mode for the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) and off-road navigation are standard.
Drive modes. The hybrid management system controls the operating states of the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro. The driver can choose between four modes. The EV mode prioritizes electric driving, while in hybrid mode hybrid management decides on the type of drive for the most part freely. In battery hold mode, the system stores the available electrical energy, and charges the battery in battery charge mode.
The large SUV generally starts in electric mode. To activate the TDI, the driver has to press down on the active accelerator pedal (another innovation from Audi) beyond a certain point of resistance, which depends on the requirements of the hybrid management system. A pressure point must also be overcome for boosting, in which case both the engine and motor work together.
When the hybrid mode is active and the eight-speed tiptronic with integrated electric motor is in shift position D, the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro changes to coasting mode once the driver takes his foot off the accelerator. The TDI and electric motor are then deactivated. Should the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro approach a slower vehicle ahead or a traffic circle or the city limit, the coasting mode ends in favor of controlled regenerative deceleration. To detect the traffic situation ahead, the data from MMI navigation plus, the front camera and (if adaptive cruise control is on board) the radar sensors are used.
When driving in shift position S and in the battery charge mode, energy recovery begins as soon as the driver releases the accelerator. The driver can progressively influence the degree of recuperation by operating the shift paddles on the steering wheel. The majority of all brake applications in everyday use also occur via the electric motor. In the event of moderate or sharper deceleration, the hydraulic brakes come into play.
The standard MMI navigation plus is closely integrated in the hybrid management system in the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro. Based on the navigation data and real-time traffic information, the most fuel-efficient choice of four modes can be calculated along the route to the destination as soon as the car is started, even for long distances. The predictive efficiency assistant facilitates a forward-looking hybrid strategy, and is another new and breakthrough technology from Audi.
During driving, the predictive efficiency assistant supplies highly precise information on the near surroundings – creating a detailed picture of up to three kilometers (1.9 mi) ahead along the route from the navigation and camera data as well as from the radar information. On approaching traffic signs with speed limits, town signs, bends, traffic circles and intersections, the system visually signals to the driver to release the accelerator pedal. At the same time, the active accelerator pulses once against the sole of his or her foot.
Operation and displays. The Q7 e-tron features the standard Audi virtual cockpit—the fully digital instrument cluster with its 12.3-inch diagonal presents all the important information in graphics of brilliant quality. The driver can retrieve different levels of information, including specific e-tron displays such as the power meter. The large display makes it possible to switch to a conventional tachometer or to display it simultaneously with the power meter. In addition, the instrument cluster depicts the displays for the energy flow, the range (with numbers and graphs) and the charge level of the battery.
Audi also uses the latest technology from consumer electronics in the area of infotainment. Its main element is the second-generation modular infotainment platform, which utilizes the enormous computing power of the Tegra 30 graphics chip from NVIDIA. Operation is by voice, with the multifunction steering wheel or with the completely newly developed MMI terminal, the MMI touchpad. On request, Audi will integrate the MMI all-in-touch, the touchpad with haptic feedback.
Audi has added specific items to infotainment for displays in electric mode. Consumption statistics are available, for example, along with a graphic display of the electric range in the navigation map. Charging as well as the preliminary air conditioning can also be time-controlled and adapted to the customer’s requirements, such as departure time, so as to save resources and costs.
The standard Audi connect component links the Q7 e-tron quattro to the internet using the fast LTE standard. Passengers can surf and email with their mobile devices via the Wi-Fi hotspot, while the driver can make use of numerous new online services and apps in the car. The Q7 e-tron also features the Audi tablet, which serves as Rear Seat Entertainment, a 3D sound systems from Bose and Bang & Olufsen and the new Audi phone box that inductively charges cell phones.
Assistance systems. New are collision avoidance assist, turn assist, cross-traffic assist and trailer assist. The adaptive cruise control including traffic jam assist takes over the steering from the driver on well-paved roads at speeds of up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph) if the traffic is slow-moving. In combination with the predictive efficiency assistant, speed is automatically adjusted when entering built-up areas and to observe speed limits as well as on bends and at intersections, once again using the coasting mode.
The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro will arrive at dealers in Germany in the spring of 2016.