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 Quattroholic.com, 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

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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