The decision was made in response to strict new emissions regulations that are scheduled to come into effect across the European Union by the end of the decade. Starting in the year 2021, every single passenger car sold new in Europe will need to emit no more than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer, a figure that equates to roughly 57 mpg in a mixed European cycle. The European Union has stressed that it will not make exceptions for performance-focused cars unless their production is highly limited.
While Audi is not worried about complying with the stringent norms, company executives readily admit that it can’t be done without resorting to using electric components.
“I don’t think [it will be difficult]. But when we reduce below 100 grams per kilometer, we have to add some kind of electrification. The question is in which way,” summed up Heinz Hollerweger, the boss of Audi’s quattro division, in an interview with Australian magazine Motoring.
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Hollerweger suggested that the term electrification can refer to a long list of components including an electric turbocharger like the one that will be inaugurated by the next-gen Q7, plug-in hybrid drivetrains like the one that currently powers the A3 e-tron (pictured) and a supercapacitator derived from Audi’s highly-successful R18 e-tron Le Mans racer.
Additionally, Hollerweger revealed that Audi is weighing the pros and the cons of further lowering fuel consumption by introducing its first-ever diesel-powered RS model.