Audi A3 e-tronEnlarge Photo
Audi will concentrate heavily on the development of plug-in hybrids over the next few years, as the company plans to offer a plug-in model of very significant model in its lineup by 2020.
Speaking to Autocar, Audi's research and development chief Ulrich Hackenberg says plug-in hybrids will be prioritized over other plug-ins, as they best meet Audi's customers' expectations.
Future plug-in Audis will be based off two main hybrid powertrain families, according to Hackenberg.
The first will be based around the 1.4-liter TSI gasoline engine and electric motor setup used in the A3 Sportback e-tron.
The A3 sits on Audi and Volkswagen's MQB platform, which underpins all of the group's compact models--from the Volkswagen Golf through the A3, to the new Audi TT coupe.
While the A3 e-tron and its Volkswagen Golf GTE cousin are both front-wheel drive--developing 204 horsepower through a six-speed 'e-S tronic' dual-clutch transmission--four-wheel drive models could make an appearance. These would use an additional electric motor mounted at the rear axle.
The second plug-in line would be based on Audi's larger MLB-Evo platform.
These vehicles, including cars like the A6 and A7, use a longitudinally-arranged engine and transmission, between which an electric motor is mounted. Audi's famous quattro system could also be used here, either electronically or mechanically.
A plug-in hybrid version of the smaller A1 subcompact, sold in Europe, would likely differ from the existing A1 e-tron concept though--Hackenberg wasn't a fan.
The development boss said that any range-extending engine powerful enough to recharge the batteries "might as well be driving the wheels".
The company hasn't mentioned further plug-in models, but given the MQB platform's adaptability and Hackenberg's announcement that all key models would be catered for, we might even see a plug-in TT somewhere down the line.