Audi’s goal is to become a net-carbon neutral manufacturer by 2050, meaning the CO2 emissions it causes by manufacturing vehicles will be completely offset by its efforts in reducing emissions elsewhere. Most of its efforts to do so come by way of electrification; developing zero-emission electric vehicles. However, Audi is also working on developing internal combustion engines that produce zero emissions, too. Which is why many of its V6 TDI diesel engines can now run on HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil).
Vegetable oil bio-fuels have been around for decades, now. Many years ago, individual customers would modify diesel engines to run on the stuff but it was costly, smelled weird, and the fuel was difficult to make/source. However, Audi is changing that.
Many of Audi’s new 3.0 liter turbocharged V6 TDI engines, including the 286 PS (282 horsepower) versions, can now run on HVO fuels in accordance with the European standard EN 15940. Not only do these HVO fuels emit 70-95 percent fewer emissions but they’re also more efficient than traditional diesel fuels, due to their higher cetane rating.
“As the cetane rating of HVO is around 30 percent higher, the combustibility of the engines is enhanced. The positive effects of this are particularly noticeable when cold starting. We tested the effects on various components, the performance, and exhaust emissions in specific validation runs before granting approval,” says Matthias Schober, head of powertrain development for V-TFSI, TDI, and PHEV at Audi.
HVO fuels will work in V6 diesel models such as the A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q7, and Q8, with the Q5 getting it in the beginning of March and the A6 Allroad sometime in the Summer. Additionally, some four-cylinder diesel engines in the Audi A3, Q2, and Q3 can run on HVO as well.
Admittedly, this is only available in Europe and barely available at that. There are over 600 fueling stations that have HVO but the majority of them are in Scandinavia. Only a few HVO stations are available in Germany. Which means HVO-powered Audis aren’t going to be widespread. However, the technology is there for any Audi V6 diesel customers that live in areas where HVO stations are available. Anything to help clean up the environment is welcome, so this is good news.