COPENHAGEN -- Audi aims to beat its German rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW to launch a plug-in hybrid diesel powered car.
Audi will present a plug-in hybrid diesel drivetrain next year, said the brand's technical development chief, Ulrich Hackenberg.
The drivetrain will use a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine and an electric motor. It will be fitted first to Audi's Q line of SUVs and the A8 flagship sedan, Hackenberg said. He was speaking at the sidelines of an event here.
Hackenberg said plug-in hybrid diesels will be sold in the United States as well as Europe.
The first vehicle to be fitted with the technology is likely to be the new Q7, which will go on sale with gasoline and diesel engines next year. No date was given for the sale of the plug-in version.
The Q7 will be the first model to be built on the VW Group’s new MLB large-car modular architecture.
Mercedes currently sells diesel hybrid versions of its E-class and S-class models, as does Land Rover with versions of its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport SUVs. So far, however, only Volvo has launched a plug-in diesel hybrid, based on its V60 diesel station wagon.
Audi is widely considered by industry watchers to have fallen behind its German rivals on technology following the introduction of BMW’s electric i-brand and Mercedes’ electronic innovations such as the Magic Body Control ride comfort aid.
Hackenberg said the brand’s "decades of lead" in diesel technology was helping it cut CO2 emissions and increase sales. "Diesel will remain one of the core values in Vorsprung durch Technik; we are putting our money in it," he said, referring to Audi's "progress through technology" slogan.