Audi r&d boss Ulrich Hackenberg provided a concise answer when asked why the carmaker’s fuel cell also needs plug-in hybrid technology.
“To make it a proper Audi,” Hackenberg told me last week at the Los Angeles auto show.
Without the plug-in hybrid system the A7 Sportback h-tron Quattro would be underpowered, offering the equivalent of just 136 hp, and would disgrace the Quattro name because it wouldn’t have all-wheel drive.
With the plug-in system, which comes from the A3 e-tron, the h-tron provides:
- The combined equivalent of 231hp (170kW) as well as power for all four wheels
- A combined range of more than 550km (342 miles)
- A massive 540 newton meters (398.3 foot pounds) of torque
- Acceleration of 0-100kph (0-62 mph) in 7.9 seconds, which is good considering that the car weights 1,950kg (4,299 pounds)
- A top speed of 180kph (111.8 mph), which is more than enough to get license revoked unless you’re cruising on a German autobhan.
While Hackenberg’s technical explanation make sense the car has little real-world potential at the moment because Audi says it won’t market fuel cell vehicles until a hydrogen recharging infrastructure is in place, which will take years.
That means the A7 Sportback h-tron Quattro will remain an interesting example of visionary engineering.