Audi are developing new technologies to make cars more efficient including synthetic fuel, electric turbos and intelligent hybrids.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and increasingly stringent CO2 emissions targets imposed by governments are making car makers ever more resourceful in their quest to cut emissions.
The fact that CO2 emissions are not the bad guy – that’s NOx and particulate emissions – means the environmental benefits are not a panacea for a better climate, but benefits from new technology are nonetheless real.
Audi are working on technologies that will potentially make BEV electric cars even less appealing than they already are, although Audi are still pursuing their e-tron EVs, with an e-tron model across the range expected within a decade.
Audi are pursuing ways to make more fuel-efficient diesel cars more appealing and more economical, and to eliminate the reliance on oil for car fuel that is a more pressing need than CO2 reduction.
Audi Intelligent Hybrid
Audi’s Intelligent Hybrid system is currently being tested on an Audi A7 and promises fuel savings of 10 per cent or more by controlling the idle time of the car’s engine during a journey.
A 48V electric system drives an electric belt drive starter which can turn the engine on and off seamlessly during a journey, allowing the car to ‘coast’ when momentum has been gathered. The Intelligent Hybrid system utilises Audi’s Predictive Efficiency and SatNav to map out upcoming terrain and turn the engine on and off as required.
Audi Electric Turbo
Audi is also working on an electric turbo to completely eliminate turbo lag in its diesel cars. A small electric turbo sits downstream from the regular turbo and provides instant boosts at very low speeds or from a standing start before handing over to the main turbo, providing linear and powerful performance at any speed.
The electric turbo won’t necessarily help emissions and economy, but it will make more frugal diesels more appealing and more fun to drive.
Audi e-Gas and e-Diesel
Audi are also planning to put synthetic petrol and diesel in to production using renewable electricity and CO2 to generate new fuel.
Using electricity generated by wind turbines in the North Sea, Audi are planning to produce hydrogen through electrolysis for Fuel Cell use, but also combine that hydrogen with CO2 in huge transparent tubes containing cyanobacteria to produce methane which can be use to fuel cars in a ‘CO2 Neutral’ way. But, perhaps more importantly, an ‘Oil Free’ way.
So advanced is this project that the new 2013 Audi A3 Sportback even offers a TCNG model (pictured above) which can use this new synthetic fuel.
So, more fun from turbo-diesel cars with no turbo lag, intelligent hybrid cars that can switch the engine on and off endlessly to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of fuel, and fuel for cars that doesn’t rely on oil.
Who needs battery electric cars?