BREAKING: Audi Confirms Plug-in Hybrid A4, Q7 e-tron Models

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2012 Audi A3 e-tron prototype

2012 Audi A3 e-tron prototype

Enlarge Photo

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk might have quipped that his 2011 Audi Q7 SUV wasn’t as good as the 2013 Tesla Model X when it came to interior space, but now it turns out the difference between the Model X and the Q7 isn't that large after all. 

You see, starting in 2014, Audi will offer the Q7 as a plug-in hybrid, along with a plug-in hybrid variant of the A4, Audi’s high-volume sports sedan.

The news comes less than a week before the start of the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, courtesy of Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler. 

As reported by, Stadler made the announcement at Audi’s annual press conference, reiterating the firm’s commitment to hybrid and plug-in technology. 

“Our A1 e-tron has been out on the roads since September 2011,” Stadler explained during his speech. “In a pilot project with a vehicle fleet in the greater Munich area, test customers are using it under everyday conditions. We will utilize the results in the ‘Showcasing Electromobility’ projects funded by the German federal government. Under our e-tron master plan, Audi intends to follow the launch of our hybrid models this year with the launch of our first electric vehicle: the R8 e-tron.”

2012 Audi A3 e-tron prototype

2012 Audi A3 e-tron prototype

Enlarge Photo

Although Stadler initially predicts “small-scale series production” for the R8 e-tron, he is more confident of Audi’s other plug-in cars. 

“Our pioneering vehicle in this field is the Audi A3, with the market launch of a plug-in version slated for 2014,” he continued. “This will be followed by the next-generation Audi A4 and Audi Q7 plug-in cars -- starting in 2014 and in successive years.”

At the moment, there’s little more to go on but a promise. But given Audi’s cars are built on common Volkswagen platforms, it gives us an insight into the plug-in future of both companies. 

“In 2020,” Stadler concluded, “we want to have an e-tron available in every segment and to achieve total sales in the six-figure range.”

In other words, just like Volkswagen, Audi wants to lead the plug-in vehicle market. 


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Comments (8)
  1. The Q7 is not slated to be an all electric yet. Though Elon may want to review the policy of pissing off giant automakers. Lest they take a tiny fraction of investor funds available to them, and make his life miserable.

    Wonder if they would have even bothered to make the Q7 a plug-in, if they hadn't been needled?

  2. Automakers pick on each other all the time. Audi is not reacting to Tesla by building a Q7 plug-in hybrid.

  3. Can I bring up Johan de Nysschen (Audi American) comment that the Volt is for idiots (paraphrasing)?

  4. Thank you for clarifying that. I really was wondering. Could you provide your evidence. Transcripts of board meetings, memos that clearly say, "This has nothing to do with Tesla" and such. Thanks in advance.

  5. The above is a reply to CDspeed, apologies.

  6. Car companies usually pick on each others brands or certain models in their advertising. You don't need insider info for that, when Elon Musk mentions cars like Porsche 911s and Audi Q7s he's only trying to give target consumers a familiar comparison. And I do know that Audi has been planning a hybrid Q7 since the Q7 launched.

  7. Another car maker confirming that they dearly lovely their gasoline engines. This hybrid approach adds complexity to the car, therefore increasing production cost and long-run maintenance costs.

    The real innovation of the Model X vs. Q7 is that, by removing the bulky engine, Tesla is able to have gobs of storage space and seating for 7 adults. The Q7, by contrast, has poor storage unless you lose the back row of seating; the PHEV version will likely have even less space, as Audi is likely to use up what little storage space the Q7 now has with batteries.

    The A4 refit will likely suffer the same issue: the compromises in complexity and loss of space from having two power trains, a fuel tank, and a battery, will make for a weak entry.

  8. Exactly, look at the Volt it's battery intrudes into the cabin creating a full length center console which doesn't allow for a bench seat in the back. And the Karma has the same thing but the trunk has been compromised so bad it's useless for anything more then a little light shopping. The nearly flat chassis in the Tesla allows for a level of versatility that no car with a gasoline engine can match.

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