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How and Why Audi Should Build the Q3 e-tron Plug-in Hybrid

Built on the same platform as the previous generation A3 hatch, the Q3 crossover from Audi seems like old news at first glance. It's not terribly exciting to look at, it's not as practical as a Q5 and is even available with a small 1.4-liter engine. And yet, despite this, 20.8% more people bought one in May 2014 compared to the same month last year.
Audi Q3 Vail concept 1 photo
We already know Audi is working on the mid-life facelift, which might debut in Paris this November. A prototype has been spotted wearing heavy camouflage, but only once, not enough to justify what we're about to suggest should be built: a plug-in hybrid. That's right, the engine range of this family vehicle needs to include an e-tron.

The powertrain has already been developed for the A3, combining a 1.4-liter TFSI with 150 hp and an electric motor for a total system output of 205 hp. Now that's more than all but one of the Q3's engines (the 2.0 TFSI with 211 hp), which means it could theoretically work with quattro all-wheel drive (a Haldex coupling in the case of this car). But the Q3 e-tron might also work as a FWD car, since most buyers don't seem to need anything else.

Two major incentives work in favor of our idea. One is Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn, who wants to be the boss of the biggest electrified mobility company by the end of the decade. A plug-in crossover/C-segment SUV is something Toyota doesn't have right now. However, Lexus will soon compete for the same market with its new NX 300h, a hybrid.

The other incentive is China. Most of the increased demand for the Q3 comes from there and local regulations strongly favor plug-in hybrid vehicles. Audi has even announced a plug-in version of the A6L specifically for the Chinese market two months ago.

 
 
 
 
 

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