The Audi Q7 TFSIe Plug-In Hybrid SUV: The Complete Guide For India

udi Q7 TFSIe Plug-In Hybrid SUV
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Body type: SUV
Battery size: 17.9 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 34 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 66 - 57g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


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

For those keen on an overview of the Indian and global electric vehicle (EV) market, simply scroll down to the end of the article!


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The Audi Q7 TFSIe PHEV SUV


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 Q7 is a premium SUV unveiled in 2005 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The production of the Q7 commenced the same year. The Q7 also uses the Volkswagen Group MLB platform. The Audi Q7 is available as a standard SUV body style. The Q7 is also available as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

Let’s face it, in most cases, larger SUVs that are environment-friendly, far and few between. However, plug-in hybrid large-sized SUV’s are a step in the right direction, towards more sustainable driving, and the Q7 PHEV SUV is a good example to consider.

The upmarket Audi Q7 PHEV is a good all-rounder, for those keen to migrate to lower tailpipe-emission electric cars, but need a more spacious vehicle. For a start, driving a conventional SUV is not cheap, let alone, a larger internal combustion engine (ICE) petrol or diesel SUV. The continued increase in petrol and diesel prices, has brought the increased cost of driving large conventional SUVs to the forefront.

One of the many advantages of driving a plug-in hybrid electric SUV, is the lower cost per mile when driven on e-mode, and the overall increase in the fuel economy. The Audi PHEV has a claimed fuel economy up to 113 mpg, though not as efficient as some of the more recent plug-in hybrids, still significantly better than the fuel economy of the conventional petrol or diesel Q7 variant (35.3 mpg).

However, the key in leveraging the benefits of the electric mode, is to use it as often as possible. Therefore, adopting a habit of topping up the EV battery on a regular basis, and using the onboard EV battery range to its maximum, is imperative in lowering driving costs. Moreover, topping up on a regular basis is also good for the long-term health and maintenance of the EV battery. Audi offers a 8 years or 100,000 miles warranty.

The Audi PHEV has a 17.9 kWh onboard EV battery, with a WLTP zero-emission electric range of up to 34 miles. Depending on driving style, weather condition, passenger load, services used in the EV, expect a real-world range closer to 29 miles.

Though the EV range is limited, it is still sufficient for shorter daily commutes: grocery store, high street, school-runs, work etc. Like most electric vehicles (EVs), the Audi PHEV incorporates regenerative braking to increase driving efficiency i.e. EV range.

The Q7 plug-in hybrid does not offer DC charging compatibility. The EV has a 7.2 kW AC onboard charger. Using a dedicated domestic EV charger, the Q7 PHEV can be fully charged in 2.5 hours. Though an EV can be charged using a 3-PIN domestic socket, we at e-zoomed discourage the use of a domestic 3-PIN plug! 

The all-wheel drive Audi Q7 PHEV combines a 3.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, which is powered by the onboard EV battery. The EV has a maximum output of 381 PS and total system torque up to 600 Nm. Despite the weight of the vehicle, which has increased due to the placement of the EV battery, the EV can achieve 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds for the 55 TFSIe quattro tiptronic and 5.4 seconds for the 60 TFSIe quattro tiptronic variant. Top speed is up to 149 mph. Bottom-line, good driving performance and the EV benefits from instant torque, a smoother and quieter drive.

In regards to practicality, the PHEV does not offer a 7-seater option, but the 5 seat PHEV is luxurious and comfortable for rear and front seat passengers. The EV offers 650 L boot space. The EV interior cabin is completed to a high specification, as is expected from a premium brand, and the EV is technology-filled, to include, the MMI navigation plus, MMI touch response, a 12.3″ Audi virtual cockpit and more. The EV also incorporates a host of driver safety assistance technology, to include, pre sense front and lane assist.

The EV has claimed tailpipe emissions up to 66g CO2/km. Again, substantially lower than the emissions of the conventional petrol variant. Bottom-line, electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet! The Audi electric car is not available in India.


PROS CONS
High quality interior and standard specificationsOnboard EV charger limited to 7.2 kW AC. DC charging not available
A practical SUV with ample space for passengers and luggage (boot space: 650L)Alternative PHEVs have better fuel efficiency
Good driving performanceLimited zero-emission electric range

Gallery


The Audi Q7 TFSIe PHEV SUV (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:SUV
Engine:Petrol-Electric
Available In India:No

Variants (6 Options)
Sport 55 TFSIe quattro tiptronic
S line 55 TFSIe quattro tiptronic
Black Edition 55 TFSIe quattro tiptronic
Competition 60 TFSIe quattro tiptronic
Vorsprung 55 TFSIe quattro tiptronic
Competition Vorsprung 60 TFSIe 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 and 30 mins)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:66 – 57g (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):1741
Width (mm):2212
Length (mm):5063
Wheelbase (mm):2995
Turning Circle (m):12.5
Boot capacity (L):650

55 TFSIe quattro tiptronic
EV Battery Capacity:17.9 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):34 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):23.4 – 24.5
Fuel Consumption (MPG):97.4 – 113.0
Charging:DC charging not available. On-board charger 7.2 kW AC (0% – 100%: 2 hrs and 30 mins)
Top Speed:149 mph
0-62 mph:5.9 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):N/A
Max Power (PS):381
Torque (Nm):600
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Unladen Weight (kg):2,450
Colours:7
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

60 TFSIe quattro tiptronic
EV Battery Capacity:17.9 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):30 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):23.6 – 24.5
Fuel Consumption (MPG):97.4
Charging:DC charging not available. On-board charger 7.2 kW AC (0% – 100%: 2 hrs and 30 mins)
Top Speed:149 mph
0-62 mph:5.4 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):N/A
Max Power (PS):462
Torque (Nm):600
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Unladen Weight (kg):2,375
Colours:8
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

Air Quality: The Basics


It does not matter where in India one lives, no one can escape the increased level of air pollution engulfing our villages, towns and cities, across the country. However, this is not unique to India.

Air pollution has been documented globally as one of the key issues in increased mortality rates, in particular, for those that are most vulnerable: the children and the aged. Increased air pollution has been linked to increases in premature deaths, higher rates of cancer, heart attacks, stroke and lung diseases.   

In India, air quality worsens closer to more densely populated urban centres, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier cities. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru are just some of the examples of cities with dangerous levels of toxic air pollution or poor air quality. In fact, air pollution levels have been so high in India in the recent years, that it has captured the attention of the world media. 

Many factors affect the level of air pollution, but one that is significant, is the pollution released from road transportation, commonly referred to as ‘emissions’ or tailpipe emissions. For the majority of the globe, to include, India, emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles contribute more than 30% to air pollution. This is an average, and certainly, in more populated cities like Delhi and Mumbai, the level of toxic contribution from vehicle exhausts will be even higher. The other major contributor to air pollution is energy production and consumptions (fossil fuels).  


So, what is air pollution?


  • Air pollution is the release of pollutants in our atmosphere that have a negative impact on the health of individuals and the environment as a whole. 
  • The majority of pollutants are invisible. The are minutely small particles (finely divided solids) or gases that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These extremely small solid or liquid particles are also called particulates. Examples are: fumes, smoke, dust and soot. The majority of these particulates are less than 10 micrometres.    
  • Air pollution can affect the environment both outdoors and indoors. There are a number of different types of pollutants, but the most well known are particulate matter, carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.  
  • Both carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NO2), contribute to smog formation, very common in the winter months. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) contributes to haze and also acid rain formation. Particulate matters also contributes to haze and acid rain. All the above negatively impact health by increasing irritation of breathing passages, aggravation of asthma and irregular heartbeat. 
  • Pollutants like carbon dioxide have a far reaching consequence on our lives. It is not only air pollution that it impacts, but as being a major source of greenhouse gas, CO2 has a long-term and detrimental impact on our environment and ecosystem. More commonly refereed to as ‘climate change’.
  • Most of us know in India are familiar with PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter). These are tiny particles or droplets that are two and one half microns or less in width. A micron is a unit of measurement of length equal to one millionth of a metre. An increase in levels of PM 2.5 concentrations result in an increase in unhealthy air quality, haze etc. Vehicle exhausts are a major contributor to higher levels of PM 2.5 in the air.    
  • Though measures like reducing traffic (odd-even system in Delhi), wearing air masks etc. can help reduce the impact of pollution, the reduction is not far-reaching. Zero-emission road transportation i.e. electric cars, are a panacea for a sustained and comprehensive improvement in air quality. The sooner, we in India, migrate to electric vehicles, the sooner can we start to improve our local air quality.  



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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