The Audi A8 TFSIe Plug-In Hybrid Saloon: The Complete Guide For India

Audi A8 TFSIe Plug-In Hybrid Saloon
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Body type: SUV
Battery size: 17.9 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 37 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 56 - 51g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:


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The Audi A8 TFSIe Saloon PHEV


Audi AG, a Bavaria (Germany) based luxury automotive manufacturer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, the Germany automotive group. Volkswagen AG is one of the leading automotive companies in the global electric vehicle (EV) industry. Volkswagen has committed to an investment up to Euro 30 billion by 2023. It aims to sell 3 million electric vehicles by 2025 and launch up to 70 new EV models over the next 10 years.

With the launch of its electric vehicle ID. Family, VW is fast cementing a dominant position is to become the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer by 2028, with the automotive behemoth planning to manufacturer 22 million electric vehicles.  Audi also offers plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), to include:

The Audi A8 is a full-size executive premium saloon vehicle. The car has been manufactured since 1994. The Audi A8 is now in its fourth generation and utilises the Audi quattro technology. The A8 saloon is also available as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

When it comes to high-end luxurious executive saloons, there are very options for either a pure electric or plug-in hybrid variant. The likes of the Audi A8 premium-badge plug-in hybrid electric car compete with a handful of other upmarket alternatives, to include Mercedes-Benz and BMW PHEVs.

The Audi A8 saloon PHEV does not come cheap. However, driving the A8 plug-in on pure electric mode can still save money. Moreover the marriage of the internal combustion engine (3.0-litre petrol TFSI V6 engine), with an electric motor, increases the fuel efficiency of the electric vehicle i.e. lower motoring costs!

Audi claims up to 148.7 mpg fuel economy, but of course, in the real-world it will be lower. Nevertheless, taking advantage of the electric mode will result in higher fuel efficiency. To further increase the efficiency of the electric vehicle, we also encourage using the maximum regenerative braking profile, as often as possible. It does take some getting used to regen braking, but, it is not a significant challenge!

The Audi electric vehicle has a 17.9 kWh onboard EV battery with a claimed emission-free EV range up to 37 miles (WLTP). Like the real-world fuel economy, expect the real-world pure electric range to be lower. A 30 mile range will be more realistic. But leveraging the hybrid technology by driving on e-mode, will help reduce running costs for the vehicle.

Of course, to leverage the EV range, keeping the EV battery charged on a regular basis is key. Given the size of the EV battery, charging at home via a dedicated residential EV charger, like Easee, should get the battery 100% charged in just over 2.5 hours. The PHEV has a 7.2 kW AC onboard charger and does not offer DC charging. Audi offers a 8 years or 100,000 miles warranty.

In terms of performance, the all-wheel drive Audi A8 does not disappoint. Despite the additional weight of the onboard EV battery, the A8 TFSI e is quick (0-62 mph: 4.9 seconds). The EV has a maximum output of 340 (PS) and 700 Nm torque, with top speed up to 155 mph. Do keep in mind that the EV also benefits from the availability of instant torque. Yes, as you can expect for the price tag, the A8 offers a refined drive and on e-mode it benefits from a smoother and silent drive.

The exterior styling of the A8 PHEV is a good balance between traditional and new design. The EV is good looking without looking futuristic, so well suited for those keen on embracing new technology without feeling overwhelmed. The inside cabin is certainly luxurious and technology-filled. The drivers cockpit is well laid out and modern.

The EV includes: Audi virtual cockpit, Audi connect navigation and infotainment, Audi smartphone interface, head up display, camera-based traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise assist with emergency assist and more. In terms of practicality, the EV can comfortably seat adults in the front and rear seats. The boot space has been impacted by the onboard EV battery and the need to also carry an EV charging cable. Nevertheless the premium saloon offers 390 L cargo volume.

The EV has claimed tailpipe emissions up to 56g CO2/km. Again, substantially lower than the emissions of the conventional combustion engine variant. Bottom-line, electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet! The Audi electric car is not available in India.


PROS CONS
Attractive exterior styling and high quality interiorLimited electric range (30 miles)
Good space for rear seatsHigh tailpipe emissions (56g)
Impressive acceleration and performance (0-62 mph: 4.9 seconds)Fuel efficiency not as good as alternatives

Gallery


The Audi A8 TFSIe PHEV (credit: Audi)


Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As an example, in India, filling a full tank of fuel for the internal combustion engine (ICE) Tata Nexon SUV will cost up to Rs 5,000 (assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 100. The Tata Nexon has a fuel tank capacity of 44 L).

In comparison, the Tata Nexon Pure Electric SUV will cost less than Rs 300 for a full EV battery charge (EV Battery size: 30.2 kWh). In India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh(unit). Therefore the cost to drive per km (or mile) in a pure electric vehicle is substantially lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant!


At A Glance
EV Type:Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Body Type:Saloon
Engine:Petrol-Electric
Available In India:No

Variants (1 Option)
A8 TFSIe Sport 60 quattro tiptronic

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 17.9 kWh
Charging:DC charging not available. On-board charger 7.2 kW AC (0% – 100%: 2 hrs 30 mins)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:56 – 51g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 100,000 miles

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1473
Width (mm):2130
Length (mm):5172
Wheelbase (mm):2998
Turning Circle (m):12.5
Boot capacity (L):390

Sport 60 quattro tiptronic
EV Battery Capacity:17.9 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):37 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):22.4
Fuel Consumption (MPG):148.7
Charging:DC charging not available. On-board charger 7.2 kW AC (0% – 100%: 2 hrs 30 mins)
Top Speed:155 mph
0-62 mph:4.9 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Max Power (PS):340
Torque (Nm):700
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Unladen Weight (kg):2,375
Colours:10
NCAP Safety Rating:N/A

History Of Electric Cars: Quick Facts


  • An electric vehicle (EV), also referred to as a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is not a new invention or even an invention of modern times. Indeed, EVs were first developed more than a 100 years ago in the 19th century. Put another way, Mahatma Gandhi was yet to be born, when inventors from various countries, to include European countries and the United States were already investing electric motors and batteries.  
  • The first practical electric cars were built in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the first US electric car introduced in 1890. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had just turned 21! 
  • Electric vehicles came into prominence in the early 1900’s, a time when horse-drawn carriages were the primary mode of transportation. Archived black and white photographs from that period show famous avenues like Madison Avenue in New York city filled with horse-drawn carriages. In stark contrast, a similar photograph taken a decade later of Madison Avenue showed not a single horse-drawn carriage. Instead the avenue  was filled with motor vehicles, a new invention. It was the beginning of man’s love affair with cars that has lasted more than a century and still going strong. 
  • However, the uptake of electric vehicles in the early 20th century was short-lived, as gasoline powered vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines (ICE) become the preferred mode of transportation.  
  • Bottom-line, manufactures chose internal combustion engines over electric cars in the early 1900s for various reasons, to include, the costs and production volumes.  
  • It is not definitive as to where EVs were invented or to credit a single inventor. However, one known electric motor (small-scale) was created in 1828 by Anyos Jedlik, a Hungarian inventor, engineer, physicist and Benedictine priest. Hungarians and Slovaks still consider him to be the unsung hero of the electric motor.  
  • Shortly after, between 1832 and 1839, a Scottish inventor Robert Anderson created a large electric motor to drive a carriage, powered by non-rechargeable primary power cells. Through the 19th century a number of inventors were inspired to develop electric motors to include, Thomas Davenport, an American from Vermont credited with building the first DC electric motor in America (1834). Unlike many of his contemporaries and other trying to build electric motors, Davenport did not have a background in either engineering or physics.  In fact, he was a blacksmith. 
  • Move forward a few decades and at the end of the 19th century, William Morrison created what is believed to be the first practical electric vehicle. Morrison, another American from Des Moines, Iowa, was a chemist who became interested in electricity. He build the first electric vehicle in 1887 in a carriage built by the Des Moines Buggy Co.  His first attempt was not a great success. In 1890, he attempted again, with more success. 12 EVs were built using a carriage built by the Shaver Carriage Company.
  • The batteries were designed and developed by William Morrison. The vehicle had 24 batteries with an output of 112 amperes at 58 volts that took 10 hours to recharge. Available horsepower just under 4 horsepower. The vehicle could accommodate 6 individuals and had a top speed of 14 mph (22.50 km/h).
  • Morrison’s success led to others also developing large-scale practical electric cars.  At the turn of the century cities like New York had 60 electric taxis. The first decade witnessed strong popularity for electric vehicles. However the popularity was short-lived as internal combustion engine (ICE) gasoline powered vehicles replaced the early electric vehicles. Henry Ford’s success with the then ubiquitous Ford Model T was the ‘beginning of the end’ for electric vehicles. The Model T was cheaper than the prevailing electric cars (US$ 650 Vs US$ 1,750) and could be manufactured at scale. As they say — the rest is history.  



Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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