At the moment, plug-in hybrids (PHEV) are excellent options for many customers that want to go green but need the driving range of internal combustion. PHEVs provide both the long-distance driving range of piston-engine cars while also giving customers the option to drive entirely on electric power. So it’s sort of the best of both worlds. The biggest criticism of hybrids, though, is the fact that they typically lack a truly significant electric range. However, Audi has added some extra range to its line of PHEV models, to make them more attractive to green customers.
The Audi Q5, A6 and A7 TFSI e PHEVs have all been given an increase in battery density, bumping the battery packs up to 17.9 kWh gross. However, the net battery density — the amount of battery you can actually use — is 14.4 kWh. The reason for the disparity between gross and net battery density is that Audi, along with most EV automakers, adds in buffers at both the top and bottom ends of the battery. So the car can neither be fully charged or fully depleted to the battery’s max capacity.
Buffers such as those are put in place to increase the life of the battery, so that, as the battery ages over time, inevitable degradation isn’t noticed by the customer. So while it might seem frustrating to not have the full battery capacity available, it’s done to preserve the battery’s potential for as long as possible.
While Audi didn’t give specific range figures for all three cars, the maximum PHEV range for all three will be from the Audi A6, which will be able to achieve a total EV range of 91 kilometers (56 miles) on the NEDC standard. Though, that figure drops to 73 kilometers (45 miles) on the WLTP standard. Considering WLTP is even more forgiving than the U.S. EPA, expect that number to be even lower on North American standards.
Everything else about the cars will remain standard, so don’t expect any power or performance changes. Audi simply upped the battery density in those three hybrids, making them a bit more attractive to potential customers.