It looks like Audi is the latest automaker to equip a car with technology that makes humans look plain ol' dumb by comparison.

In this case, the German automaker is developing a so-called "coasting" hybrid, which is a variation of the stop-start feature being included in an expanding stable of vehicle models. In fact, the system is similar to what we saw on the Volkswagen Golf Twin Drive in 2008, but Audi uses a three-cylinder gas-powered TFSI engine instead of the four-cylinder diesel that was found in the Golf. A version of Twin Drive was developed for the Audi A3, as well.

The iHEV (Intelligent Hybrid Vehicle) is now being developed for the Audi A7 sedan, though the automaker hasn't said anything about timeframe, cost or availability. Still, the company came out with a nifty video (see it below), complete with computer-created graphics showing the car climbing and descending hills with the help of the hybrid system.

The video's explanation was minimalist, but UK's Autocar laid out the details of the system, which includes a 48-volt electric motor powered by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery that, unlike current stop-start systems that cut the engine when the car is at a standstill, actually cuts or idles the engine when the car's in motion in order to save fuel. In other words, it can coast. Audi goes one step further by equipping the A7 with a navigation system that collects data on the inclines and declines down the road (literally) and uses the information to speed up, slow down or shut down the gas engine appropriately.

The upshot is that the car, when tested on 38 miles of winding country roads, was able to shut down its gas engine during 28 percent of the journey and boosted fuel economy compared to a conventional A7 by about 10 percent.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does it shift the tranny into Neutral when coasting? Would make sense, since trannies cause huge drag.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      Savings of about 10%? That is pretty weak IMO. That would at MAX, 3mpg. A lot of technology for such a small improvement.
      guyverfanboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      This would probably too expensive with a BiTDI engine.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does the tranny shift to Neutral while coasting too? Trannys cause huge drag.
      Smoking_dude
      • 2 Years Ago
      What most ppl don't know here is that VW had this technology in the early golf 3 diesel. It had an atomated manual gearbox and shut down the engine during coasting. the problem was, VW never advertised the technology, they never told their mechs how to repair it, so it was meant to FAIL! Search for "Golf 3 Ecomatic" It had an electo-hydraulic steering and an additional battery 92ah + 9ah I don't want to rant, 28% off-time is not bad, and if all cars would save 10% fuel it would be a lot. on the other hand, taken the effort to integrate the battery and add a small motor, you could just upgade it to a real hybrid. even the current honda ima can do more (with the new batteries & the bigger motor with 20hp) this even prolongs the coast time. but I fear we won't see this car soon :(
      sirvixisvexed
      • 2 Years Ago
      28% is not too shabby! How do they get "iHEV" from 'Intelligent Hybrid Vehicle' ? Unless they're trying way too hard to be trendy, by not only just starting with a lower case i, which is only for cool things (in case you didn't know), but also somehow fitting "EV" in there, which cannot be explained logically.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sirvixisvexed
        intelligent Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
          sirvixisvexed
          • 2 Years Ago
          Calling a hybrid an "electric vehicle" is a little too overboard. Everything else sold with "EV" in it is something with either an entirely electric range or a decent electric range followed by a petrol range. Though this rule is not written, and can be taken advantage of by the shameless. A Malibu Eco is not an "electric vehicle". And they only used the word "intelligent" as a convenient word-excuse to begin their trendy hipster love love title with a lower case "i". *shakes fist*
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does it shift the tranny into Neutral when coasting? Would make sense, since trannies cause huge drag.
      skierpage
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is not impressive. "We don't have a decent hybrid in which only an efficient motor propels the car for long periods, but our stop-start micro-hybrid is better than others." And it's pathetic when car companies spew useless numbers in place of the relevant ones. "48-volt electric motor powered by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery", what's the motor power output in kW and battery energy in kW·h?
      Jesse Gurr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was under the impression that it was illegal to 'coast'. Especially with the engine off. Something about it being a safety issue because you can accelerate to get out of the way if you need to. So we will probably never see this system in the US. I will tend to coast down big hills on my way to work but I don't turn off the engine because i would like my brakes and steering to keep working.
        Neil Blanchard
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        It should be able to just restart the engine, if you hit the accelerator -- you would not even be able to notice that it is coasting. Engine off coasting is a big savings. Neil
        Anne
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        "because you can accelerate to get out of the way" Only bad drivers put themselves in positions where they need that.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        The Prius already does this, so it's fine. So long as the Audi has electrically powered steering and brake system (you'd hope so on a vehicle trying to be economical) then there's no problem.
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