Automotive

Audi's new Q5 plug-in hybrid offers ~25 miles of all-electric driving, and that's not quite enough

Audi's new Q5 plug-in hybrid o...
With a little over 25 miles of all-electric range, Audi's new Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro is *that* close to handling the average daily commute without using gasoline
With a little over 25 miles of all-electric range, Audi's new Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro is *that* close to handling the average daily commute without using gasoline
View 5 Images
The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro charges in around six hours overnight off a wall charger
1/5
The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro charges in around six hours overnight off a wall charger
A compact family SUV now gets a PHEV version
2/5
A compact family SUV now gets a PHEV version
All-wheel drive hybrid powertrain should offer the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattrozippy performance
3/5
All-wheel drive hybrid powertrain should offer the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattrozippy performance
Audi's first plug-in hybrid is on sale now
4/5
Audi's first plug-in hybrid is on sale now
With a little over 25 miles of all-electric range, Audi's new Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro is *that* close to handling the average daily commute without using gasoline
5/5
With a little over 25 miles of all-electric range, Audi's new Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro is *that* close to handling the average daily commute without using gasoline

Plug-in hybrids are supposed to be the perfect bridge between today and tomorrow, combining cheap, green, electric commuting with gasoline-powered long-range touring. Audi's first plug-in hybrid has been announced, but it looks like a swing and a miss, since its all-electric range won't cover the average daily commute.

The Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro (a poetically named beast if ever there was one) is a family-sized SUV with a two-liter, four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine making 252 hp (185 kW) and 370 Nm (272.9 lb-ft) of torque through a seven-speed S Tronic transmission. This is supplemented with a 140-hp (105-kW) electric powertrain that adds an additional 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque to the all-wheel-drive powertrain.

Its lithium battery pack, which sits under the floor of the luggage compartment, stores 14.1 kWh of energy, enough for an all-electric range over 26 mi (40 km), on the tough WLTP test cycle. Which is nice, but the average American commute is around 32 mi (51 km), meaning that for many this car will need to burn gas around town on daily duties.

Audi's first plug-in hybrid is on sale now
Audi's first plug-in hybrid is on sale now

So it's not what we'd call a dream plug-in hybrid, and Audi's not alone in skimping on battery range for these machines. We'd like to see electric range get up around the 40-45 mi (64-72 km) range on these PHEVs, and completely eliminate gas stops for the majority of motorists until you get right out on the highway for a long trip. On the other hand, if you take it out of all-electric mode and let the electric and gasoline motors work together, you get an impressive overall efficiency figure of 98-112 US mpg (2.4-2.1 L/100km).

The Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro will offer a full hybrid mode, a gasoline-only "battery hold" mode that attempts to maintain the battery's charge level, and full electric mode. The latter won't wake up the gasoline engine at all, until you push past a perceptible pressure point on the accelerator pedal. Thus, you've got the car's full power available whenever you might need to call on it.

The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro charges in around six hours overnight off a wall charger
The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro charges in around six hours overnight off a wall charger

Charging from a wall socket will take around six hours, which isn't a problem if you leave it plugged in overnight. Faster charging is available, but likely won't be necessary for most drivers given that you can just run the thing on gasoline and recoup energy at rates up to 25 kW while coasting and 80 kW under regenerative braking, which handles all deceleration duties less than 0.2 g before the disc brakes chime in for additional stopping power.

Elsewhere, it looks plenty nice, with its LED headlights, sporty seats, 18-inch turbine-design wheels, and app-controlled pre-heating and cooling systems that let you set the climate before you walk out the door.

At €60,450 (around US$67,400) it can be pre-ordered now, with cars landing in showrooms in Q3 this year.

Source: Audi

8 comments
VincentWolf
I hate all these PHEVS with 20 to 30 mile range. You need 35+. The Pacifica is just barely marginal. Volt best. The rest are junk.
Crevasse
People need to stop being so black and white with gas/hybrid/phev/ev. This is one of the very few awd SUVs with a battery only drive mode. The only other is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV which I own. During the week driving around town, we almost never use the gas engine. Of course while driving in the mountains we use the engine. Not the worst thing. The thing is we can sit on the sidelines polluting every mile waiting for the model Y, or bridge the gap for a few years with something like this. All the while more options will be available instead of just one. And don't forget that this Audi has probably a ~$6k US Federal tax rebate and possibly a state tax rebate if you live in a progressive state. I got $11k in tax rebates on my Outlander in addition to $4k in dealer/factory discounts. When is the last time you got $15K off a new car MSRP? Why would you not do that?!
Hasler
Journalists get to drive new cars, unlike most of us who make do with used models. So they don't appreciate that batteries wear out with every charge and never mention the half-life range. Happily, once the Audi is down to the last 10% of capacity there is option of relying entirely on the gas motor. We are told that electric propulsion is much simpler and less costly than internal combustion engines, so if electric cars cost more, this must be due to the cost of the batteries. Thus, when the batteries wear out and the range gets too short, the point will come when scrapping the vehicle will be more economical than replacing the batteries. But as long as electricity generation and scrapyards are outside the cities, electric cars will continue to be 'green'.
jd_dunerider
I don’t see how this is a swing and a miss. You’ll still barely use any gas on a 35 mile commute. The most important thing is to have electric for the stop and go traffic, which is probably less than half of most long commutes. I’m sure they weighed the cost and benefits of going with more electric range, and this was the most economical and practical middle ground. I’d be ecstatic to have this kind of efficiency in a vehicle that still uses gasoline on the longer drives.
Jinpa
What the article doesn't say, but should, is what is the price difference between the hybrid version compared to the non-hybrid version of the Q5.
Mr T
What everyone seems to fail to understand with PHEVs is that: a) they keep you locked in to the fossil fuel industry. b) they keep you locked in to the high maintenance costs of ICEs, even if you barely use the ICE, you still have to service it. c) If you drive this as mostly an EV, then you are dragging around a complete ICE drive system for no good reason most of the time. d) if you plan to drive mostly on batteries, then you have paid for an ICE drive system that you will barely use. e) If you drive a PHEV mostly on batteries, you are cycling those batteries deeply all the time. For example, a BEV with a 500km range driven 100,000km may cycle it's batts 200-400 times. For a PHEV you are cycling them at least 2000 times, which is pretty much end of life. In summary, PHEVs make no sense at all, just buy a BEV and be done with fossil fuels and high maintenance costs.
christopher
The sun doesn't shine at night - so these are what, coal powered ? That's more than THREE TIMES worse than petroleum...
ljaques
MrT got it in one. I'll consider PHEVs sane or semi-worthy when they come with 500-mile battery range =and= onboard small engine with generator for emergencies.