With the racing pedigree provided by the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the German king of Le Mans is capitalizing on the connection between its road cars and race cars at every opportunity. Maybe there's an entire range of Le Mans Editions for the automakers diesel-hybrid offerings, with perhaps Tom Kristensen acting as the brand's spokesperson for the technology in Europe. You'd be wrong, though, because despite the R18's overwhelming successes in endurance racing, Audi the road-car manufacturer doesn't offer a single diesel-hybrid production car.

This factoid will hopefully be as short lived as it is disappointing, though, as a diesel-electric is around the corner, according to the brand's tech boss, Ulrich Hackenberg. In fact, it gets better than a mere diesel-hybrid; it will be a plug-in diesel-hybrid, only the second to hit the market, alongside the European-market Volvo V60.

According to Hackenberg, the new tech will be the result of a marriage between the brand's well-received 3.0-liter, TDI V6 with an electric motor. The next-generation Audi Q7 (shown above) will be the initial recipient, confirming previous reports that claimed a PHEV TDI could come to the next-gen CUV. Its MLB architecture, meanwhile, would allow the plug-in-hybrid-diesel powertrain to be fitted easily enough to the A8 luxury sedan. While the new Q7 should hit the market at some point in 2015, it's unclear when the PHEV TDI model could see the light of day.

Still, it's a combination that Hackenberg seems bullish on, and based on his comments, it's a virtual certainty that it'll arrive in some capacity in the US market.

"The hybrid will be another argument to go for diesel in the US," Hackenberg told Automotive News Europe. "We have the combination of low CO2 emissions, necessary to meet market demand and regulations, and we have the diesel which gives a lot torque, which is very necessary for driveability."

"In the USA if you look to sportiness it is very important to be quick away from the traffic lights. In combination with the electric engine, a diesel hybrid delivers very good torque from the start," he added. We'd wholeheartedly agree.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      Tweaker
      • 11 Months Ago
      The lower CO2 claim is bullshit. VW's 1.8L TSI burns cleaner is EVERY way than the comparable TDI when considering upstream emissions. The Germans are quick to shove their diesels on us because diesel is on the way out in Europe.
      timber
      • 11 Months Ago
      Nobody buys diesel cars in Europe because it better for the environment or whatever. Most people don't care about that (even if they say they do...) People buy Diesel cars because they use much less fuel (and in some countries diesel is slighty cheaper than gasoline, in others diesel is more expensive) and from a few years ago they became competitive regarding performance. As everybody may be aware fuel is quite expensive around Europe so perhaps we are more sensitive to consumption issues. We like cruising at 100 mph at around 40 to 50 mpg depending on the car/engine. The fact that fuel prices are much higher than in the USA also makes us less sensible to initial car price differences. Nobody cares that a Diesel car costs more 2000 or 3000 € than the gasoline version. We know that we will compensate for that shortly in fuel costs. And that's not even considering resale.
      PeterScott
      • 11 Months Ago
      So the expense of diesel + hybrid + bigger battery for plugin. And the maintenance/repair issues for all those systems. Too much complexity and expense IMO.
      IJ8
      • 11 Months Ago
      There is a good reason why diesels are not popular in the USA. The artificial tax advantage to diesel fuel was only created in Europe not the USA where diesel fuels are actually more expensive (because they are more expensive to produce). For decades Europe harbored under the illusion that diesel engines were better for then environment and they made the fuel cheaper than gasoline to promte this. However, all the while the reality was that diesels in Europe were spewing forth more contaminates (especially particulates etc.) than gasoline engines. Now London (England) are going to tax diesels higher for use in that city because of this. Now perhaps Audi are upgrading their newer diesel engines to be less of source of contaminates and if this is so they certainly will make interesting use in hybrids.
        NL
        • 11 Months Ago
        @IJ8
        Diesel is cheaper to refine than gasoline--it is essentially the same stuff as heating oil (with less sulfur). Its higher price these days is due to market forces and higher end-user taxes (in USA).
          Tweaker
          • 11 Months Ago
          @NL
          But it uses more oil to produce the same gallon.
        kinasi
        • 11 Months Ago
        @IJ8
        lol no no one in Europe bought a diesel because they thought it was more environmentally friendly we bought them because diesel is cheaper if you drive long disstances, but now diesel has increased in price but back 10 years ago, ppl bought diesels because if you drove a certain distance, you would be much cheaper off that's why many of the high end cars were diesel, because you use a big car to drive a long distance, and many of the small cars were not
        Matt
        • 11 Months Ago
        @IJ8
        The economic benefits of diesel in the U.S. have nothing to do with fuel prices; it's entirely about resale value. The diesel option on modern cars/trucks effectively doesn't depreciate, and in fact has negative depreciation on many models (HD pickups, VW TDI, etc).
          EVnerdGene
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Matt
          That won't last for long when people find out what it costs to replace SCR-CATs, OXI-CATs, dosing valves, DPFs, various sensors, and hi-hi-pressure fuel pumps.