It’s no secret that the automotive landscape is shifting dramatically toward electric mobility. What was once a cute project to see if automakers could get good fuel economy, hybrids are now becoming a norm and quite necessary in the automotive world. Luxury car brands were slow to adopt the hybrid craze but are now jumping in with both feet. BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Tesla are leading the way in the world of luxury hybrids but Audi seems to be lagging behind and needs to catch up.
BMW recently created a new gameplan for hybrid vehicles and it’s to make a plug-in hybrid variant of each and every model in the BMW range. At the moment, Audi’s Bavarian neighbor has a plug-in hybrid 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and X5 in America, with more on the way. How many plug-in hybrids does Audi have in America? One, the Audi A3 e-tron.
The problem with that is Audi isn’t being taken seriously as a green brand, an image it desperately needs. After the diesel scandal, Audi should be doing everything it can to distance itself from the crude reputation its received and making green, eco-friendly vehicles is the way to do that. It would also keep its overall emissions and fuel economy down, across its lineup, which would free the brand up to making more high profit-margin vehicles, such as performance cars and SUVs.
Then there’s the fact that Audi actually has some damn good hybrid technology to use. Being part of the Volkswagen Group, Audi has quite the parts bin of hybrid tech to pull from, not to mention the stuff its developing on its own. Just take a look at the Volkswagen e-Golf and the brand-new Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. Both of those cars are superb and occupy both ends of the spectrum, with one being an economical hatchback and the other a high-end luxury car. So Audi could implement some of this tech across its lineup.
Now, Audi does have the upcoming Q8 e-tron on the way, which will be an incredibly impressive plug-in hybrid SUV. That car should boost Audi’s green-cred and it will be a technological tour de force. However, it’s not enough. Audi needs to employ an approach similar to BMW’s and develop hybrid variants of each model line. The Audi Q7 e-tron is a good place to start but that’s not available in the US as of yet and, still, is only one other model. Audi has the means and capability to offer up plug-in variants of the A4, A6, A7 and A8.
Now, admittedly, the upcoming Audi A8 and A6 are likely to have plug-in hybrid variants, along with the next generation of A7. But Audi needs to start implementing these powertrains now. Hopefully it will happen soon enough that the brand’s harsh diesel reputation will become a distant memory.