Audi on Dec. 28 released a press statement confirming that the Q5 Hybrid will begin production at the end of 2010. The vehicle will be the first hybrid car sold by the German automaker.
The Q5 Hybrid may likely be based on the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne. The rumored powertrain is a 3.0 liter V6 with a 52-hp electric assist engine. A hybrid A4 model should follow soon after the Q5.
Last year Audi canceled the Q5 Hybrid because the company was unhappy with the crash test results with nickel metal hydride batteries. This may have been an excuse to give Audi more time to develop their hybrid technology. There could be a chance that the Q5 could come equipped with lithium ion batteries which will improve fuel efficiency.
Up until recently, Audi has relied on diesel technology to reduce emissions and improve efficiency, but to compete in the Luxury SUV’s market, Audi realized it would have to release a hybrid. Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz plan on releasing hybrid versions of their SUV’s.
Audi plans on investing €7.9 billion over the next three years for its manufacturing plants in Germany and new models. An additional €5.9 billion will be spent on future product development. The company plans on expanding its model line from 34 to 42 models by 2015. New models like the A1, A7, A8 and R8 Spyder will be added to Audi’s lineup in 2010.
In the future we could expect models like the Q5 to go completely electric. Audi showed off the an electric powered concept of the R8, named the e-tron, at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto show. The German automaker claimed that the concept produced an astronomical 3,319 lb-ft of torque.
The e-tron really produces 501.5 lb-ft, which is still a very impressive number. Audi engineers claimed the 3,319 lb-ft number was based off how the car felt when the electric motors moved the car. Compare this to the speculated 221.24 lb-ft electric engine that will assist the Q5 Hybrid’s gasoline engine.
If the e-tron hits the market in 2012, there may be future electric cars offered by Audi. The question remains if battery technology will make these electric cars feasible. Expect to see the Q5 Hybrid at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.