The American and Chinese versions of the forthcoming Audi Q7 e-tron quattro plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) won’t be outfitted with a diesel engine like the European version will, but will instead feature a gasoline engine, according to recent reports.
Considering the general disregard for diesel cars in North America, the move isn’t exactly a surprising one. And considering the substantial air pollution problems that China faces, the switchover for the Chinese market isn’t surprising either.
To be more specific — rather than a 3.0-liter TDI V-6 turbodiesel engine, the American and Chinese versions of the Q7 PHEV will feature a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder engine.
News of the switchover is coming to us via the industry trade journal Automotive News Europe — the news was confirmed with Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s product development head.
Despite the confirmation, though, Hackenberg did note that Audi wasn’t necessarily abandoning the idea of bringing the diesel Q7 PHEV to North America, also mentioning that further market research would be done, and a more “final” sort of decision would come after that.
Audi’s move follows in the vein of similar ones made by Volvo — the American version of the upcoming 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid SUV will feature a gasoline engine, for example.
With very few exceptions, diesel cars in the US are limited to select models offered by German automakers and Jeep — support for the technology just isn’t there. Considering that diesel fuel is currently running more than $1 per gallon higher than gasoline that isn’t surprising. And who wants to fill up next to a throng of semi trucks anyways?
Also, of course, there’s the issue of air pollution. As someone who’s lived a fair amount of time in both European and American cities, I can honestly say that I have a very low opinion of diesel cars. The difference in air quality is immediately noticeable and quite significant. Personally I think it was a poor choice for Europe to embrace the technology, and look forward to the day when diesel cars are gone from the roads of the continent and replaced by electrics. (France has apparently begun to see the light in that regard and is now offering substantial incentives to diesel owners who switch to electrics or PHEVs.)
Image Credit: Audi
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