Audi is putting its new electrified models on the road. Presales of the Q7 TFSI e quattro have just started in Germany and other European countries.
The SUV, whose plug-in hybrid drive combines a three-liter V6 gasoline engine with a powerful electric motor, is available in two power levels. The top-of-the-line version offers a system output of 335 kW (456 PS) and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of system torque while the second version delivers 280 kW (381 PS) and 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft).
Four new models with plug-in hybrid drive – in the Q5, A8, A6 and A7 Sportback model lines – will debut on the European market in the second half of 2019 alone. The new Q7 TFSI e quattro continues this series. The plug-in hybrid SUV bears the “TFSI e” logo.
Like every plug-in hybrid model, the Audi Q7 TFSI e quattro relies on the power of its two hearts. One of the brand’s most modern engines serves as the combustion engine – the 3.0 TFSI. The turbocharged, refined V6 delivers an output of 250 kW (340 PS) and 450 Nm (331.9 lb-ft) of torque. It is certified according to the Euro 6d-TEMP emission standard and is fitted with a gasoline particulate filter as standard.
A permanently excited synchronous motor (PSM), which is characterised by a high power density and compact design, serves as the electric motor. The PSM, which delivers a peak output of 94 kW and 350 Nm (258.1 lb-ft) of torque, is integrated in the housing of the eight-speed tiptronic. Together with the coupling, which connects the combustion engine to the drivetrain, it forms what is known as the hybrid module.
The power for the electric motor is supplied by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that is positioned under the luggage compartment floor and provides an energy capacity of 17.3 kWh at a voltage of 308 volts. Its 168 prismatic cells are divided into 14 modules that lie on top of each other on two levels. The battery cooling system, which also covers the charger, forms a separate low-temperature circuit.
If necessary, it can be connected to the coolant circuit for the air conditioning system or the second low-temperature circuit, which cools the electric motor and power electronics. It converts the direct current from the high-voltage battery (HV) into three-phase current to power the electric motor. During recuperation, the electric motor functions as an alternator and feeds direct current back to the lithium-ion battery.
A quick and smoothly shifting eight-speed tiptronic transfers the forces of the two motors via the quattro drivetrain to all four wheels. It is equipped with an electric oil pump that ensures lubrication in all operating states. The core of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive is a center differential with purely mechanical regulation that distributes the torque between the front and rear axles at a ratio of 40:60 in normal driving operation. When required, it transfers the majority of it to the axle with the better traction.
The different designs of the electric motor allow Audi Q7 TFSI e quattro customers to choose between two power levels that differ in terms of their boost strategy, for example. The Q7 60 TFSI e quattro achieves a system output of 335 kW (456 PS) and has a system torque of 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) – that’s 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) more than the TFSI generates alone. When both power units work together in boost mode, it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 5.7 seconds and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 240 km/h (155.3 mph). Up to speeds of 135 km/h (83.9 mph) the electric motor can generate the drive alone.
The Q7 55 TFSI e quattro delivers 280 kW (381 PS) and a system torque of 600 Nm (442.5 lb-ft). It sprints to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 5.9 seconds. The electric motor can also generate the car’s drive alone up to a speed of 135 km/h (83.9 mph), and a speed of 240 km/h (155.3 mph) can be reached in cooperation with the combustion engine.
In electric operation, both Q7 variants achieve the same range of up to 43 kilometres in accordance with the WLTP procedure. In many countries and cities, their owners can benefit from tax advantages or even enjoy local traffic privileges such as free parking or driving in the bus lane. In Germany, both plug-in hybrid models benefit from the company car regulation for electric cars: The vehicle is taxed only at a flat rate of 0.5% of the gross list price.
Whether one is driving short or long distances, in the city, on country roads or the highway: The hybrid management of the Audi Q7 TFSI e quattro choses the optimum operating strategy for each journey automatically. It is designed such that drivers can cover a large section of their daily journeys on electric power. The “EV” soft key in the lower of the two MMI displays allows them to decide whether and how they want to adjust the interaction of the two power units at any time.
The SUV starts in fully electric “EV” mode. A loudspeaker in the right wheel arch emits a synthetic e-sound to warn pedestrians and cyclists in city traffic. In accordance with the EU guidelines, this acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) can be heard clearly up to 20 km/h (12.4 mph) and gradually fades out as the speed increases. The gasoline engine is activated only when the driver depresses the right-hand pedal, the “active accelerator pedal,” beyond a specific level of resistance.
“Hybrid” mode offers two operating modes: “Auto” and “Hold”. In “Auto” mode, the predictive operating strategy is activated automatically when route guidance is started in the standard MMI navigation plus. The battery charge is spread intelligently along the route, with large electric portions in the city and in stop-and-go traffic. In most cases, the TFSI engine accelerates the vehicle and the electric motor provides support as needed. When accelerating from low rotational speeds, for example, it bridges those tenths of a second that the turbocharger needs to build up pressure, ensuring that the drive has a very spontaneous response. Generally speaking, the predictive operating strategy endeavors to drive as far as possible on electric power and to use the available battery charge completely by the time the destination is reached.
A different strategy is used in “Hold” mode: In this case, the battery’s existing state of charge is kept at the current level with just minimum fluctuations. This is done by recovering brake energy, i.e. recuperation and shifting the load point – in other words, by means of targeted interventions in the management of the 3.0 TFSI. Following a long-distance journey that is driven the conventional way, for example, this allows the subsequent urban drive to be covered on purely electric power, i.e. without emissions and nearly silent.