The next generation of an already ground-breaking Audi cited for NZ release is about to be unveiled.
ELECTRIC dreaming is not enough for the maker of a battery-powered new Audi likely inbound for New Zealand within the next two years.
Audi has confirmed that the Q6 e-tron quattro that New Zealand agent European Motor Distributors is keen to lay hands on is to be shown at next month’s Detroit show in an even more advanced, hydrogen-fuelled form.
German media reports suggest the Q6 h-tron will use the same MLB platform as the all-electric e-tron edition, which since coming out in concept form for this year’s Frankfurt motor show has now been confirmed for production, starting in 2018.
The Q6 e-tron’s double draw of significant grunt and range – 372kW/700Nm and 550kms on a charge - lends potential for it to become a key, if niche, performer here, Audi NZ boss Dean Shead has previously told Motoring Network.
The unashamed advocate for electric-assisted motoring was the architect of the push to sell the A3 e-tron here and will follow up with a Q7 e-tron in 2017.
“That’s a range which is suitable for our country,” Shead said of the Q6’s performance during the New Zealand media event for the Q7. And that’s not the only plus. “We are told it (Q6) will be a ‘proper’ SUV in every aspect, including having great off-road ability.”
A four-seater with a length between that of the Q5 and the Q7, Q6 –tron will be powered by three electric motors – one on the front axle and two on the rear axle. If that sounds too advanced for your tastes, then there will also be conventionally-powered diesel versions to consider. These seem likely to employ the same 3.0-litre V6 that currently offers in the Q7.
The Q6 h-tron is said to look identical to the Q6 e-tron seen here, save that the batteries - mounted low down to create the best possible centre of gravity have been replaced with hydrogen fuel cells.
Audi applied to trademark the phrase 'h-tron’ earlier this year. It’s already known the German manufacturer is looking to bring fuel cell technology to market. Audi engineers are said to have plenty of faith in hydrogen as a fuel, due to the ease with which it can be created, using wind turbines to 'crack' water into hydrogen and oxygen.
If the h-tron does make production, it will face competition fromHyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell in the SUV market, as well as other hydrogen-powered cars like the Toyota Mirai and Honda’s upcoming FCV Clarity.